NCAA Baseball: Cougars Suffer First Loss of Southeast Regional

NCAA Baseball: Cougars Suffer First Loss of Southeast Regional

TIGERVILLE, S.C. - The eighth-ranked Columbus State University baseball team took its first loss of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, falling 7-3 against No. 13 Belmont Abbey. The Southeast Regional is being played at North Greenville University.

Columbus State (42-13) will play its first elimination game on Sunday, taking on the winner of North Greenville and UNC Pembroke at 3:30 p.m. The winner of Sunday's game will move into the regional championship and have to defeat Belmont Abbey twice on Monday.

"Give Belmont Abbey a lot of credit tonight," head coach Greg Appleton said. "When they needed a big hit tonight, they hit the ball out of the ballpark. Then their pitchers did a good job of getting big outs when we had scoring chances."

For the third straight day, the Cougars came roaring out of the gates. With the bases loaded and two outs, Frank Wager pushed a single through the left side to plate the game's first two runs.

Columbus State added another run in the second, as Grant Berry lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield that brought Garrett Kirkwood across the plate.

Belmont Abbey (40-12) broke through in the third, getting a two-run home run to cut the CSU lead to just one. The Crusaders then tied the game in the fourth thanks to a throwing error.

The rest of the way, it was all about the long ball for BAC. Belmont Abbey took the lead on a solo shot in the fifth and tacked on another home run leading off the eighth.

The Cougars loaded the bases on three walks in the bottom of the eighth inning, moving the tying runs into scoring position. Berry then hit a sinking liner into centerfield that was run down to end the scoring threat.

Belmont Abbey added some insurance in the ninth, hitting a two-run home run to double the advantage before the Cougars went down in order in the ninth.

Tyler Cadenhead (8-1) was hit with the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) in five innings. Sheridan Coy struck out six in his three-inning relief stint, with Drew Reeves pitching the ninth.

Berry and Kirkwood had two hits apiece to lead the Cougar offense.