GREATEST MOMENTS | Super CCU advances to first College World Series


CCU's-momentSome of the great moments by Coastal Carolina athletes include Josh Norman and Mike Tolbert playing in Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers, Dustin Johnson winning nine events on the PGA Tour and Amber Campbell competing in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

Johnson also led the CCU men’s golf team to fifth place in the 2007 NCAA Championships, the highest team finish by a Big South school in an NCAA event.

Until now.

The Chanticleers advanced to the College World Series on Sunday night with a dramatic 4-3 victory against LSU to win the NCAA Super Regional in Baton Rouge — the moment judged the greatest in school history.

It’s also one of the greatest moments in Big South history as CCU became the first conference team to reach the CWS in Omaha, Neb.

The Chanticleers beat LSU 11-8 in their Super Regional opener on Saturday, rallying after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning to remain down by two. In the sixth, CCU scored four runs to stun LSU.

Junior G.K. Young and seniors Connor Owings and Zach Remillard homered for the Chants, sophomore Bobby Holmes pitched 1.2 innings in relief for the win and senior closer Mike Morrison sealed it by throwing the final three innings.

Bigger dramatics followed on Sunday night after LSU rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game with a run in the ninth.

Anthony Marks led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, stole second and scored on a single by Michael Paez, a chopper over the head of LSU third baseman Chris Reid. That set off a celebration as the Chanticleers completed a Super Regional sweep.

CCU starter Alex Cunningham worked 7.1 innings and allowed 10 hits but just two earned runs, while reliever Bobby Holmes earned the win with his 1.2 hitless innings. Holmes worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts.

CCU (49-16) advanced to Bracket 1 of the CWS with TCU and Texas Tech. The Chanticleers will play the winner of Monday’s Florida-Florida State Super Regional final in Gainesville.

Arizona, Oklahama State, Miami (Fla.) and UC Santa Barbara advanced to Bracket 2 of the eight-team CWS, which starts on Saturday.

“I tell you what, players and moments and 21 years at Coastal Carolina have flashed in front of my brain,” Chants coach Gary Gilmore said after Sunday’s win. “As Marks is rounding third base and I knew they didn’t really have a good shot at him, I mean, it’s incredible. I must have had about 100,000 thoughts go right through my head in that moment of time. It was unbelievable.”

Gilmore’s 2010 team, which included future major-leaguers Tommy La Stella (Chicago Cubs) and Taylor Motter (Tampa Bay Rays). won 55 games and hosted a Super Regional. It was CCU’s second Super Regional in three years, and the sports moment previously judged the greatest in school history.

The Chanticleers, which beat College of Charleston for the regional championship, lost to South Carolina, starring Jackie Bradley Jr. (Boston Red Sox). But the Chanticleers didn’t back down. South Carolina’s two wins both were decided by one run — 4-3 and 10-9.

It might have been small consolation, but consolation nonetheless that South Carolina went on to win the first of two consecutive CWS championships.

Now the Chanticleers will get their chance.

• CCU’s George F. Sasser Athletic Hall of Fame

On the cover: CCU celebrates its walk-off victory against LSU to reach its first College World Series. (Courtesy CCU Athletics)

Monday: Coastal Carolina (update)
 and Florida International 
Fordham and Furman
Gardner-Webb and George Mason 
George Washington and Grand Canyon
Green Bay and Harvard

Mike Bambach

Mike Bambach is senior web producer for ASN.