CONWAY, S.C. – The Lions came to play, and they made that apparent from the very first pitch of the opening game at the Conway Regional of the NCAA Baseball Championship. Columbia starter Bill Purdy went four and two-thirds innings, holding one of the country’s leading run-scoring teams to four runs on eight hits.
The game was much closer than the final score.
Leading 4-1 in the eighth, the 10th ranked Chanticleers put up six runs in the bottom of the inning en route to the 10-2 final.
Mike Malfettone put the Lions up on the board first, hitting a solo blast to right field in the top of the third. It was his first home run of the season and just the second of his career.
Coastal knotted the game up in the bottom half of the inning when Scott Woodward hit a one-out single up the middle and advanced to third on a single by David Sappelt. Dock Doyle scored Woodward with a sac fly before Purdy retired the side by striking out David Anderson.
The Lions got the barrel on the ball often, but nothing fell as Columbia registered 11 line outs or fly outs.
Coastal Carolina got some breathing room in the fifth when Woodward, Sappelt and Doyle hit singles to score one run and Sappelt scored on a wild pitch. Anderson hit a home run to extend the lead to 4-1 before John Baumann came into relieve Purdy.
Baumann pitched two and one-third scoreless innings.
Coastal scored six runs on three hits and two errors with two left on base in the eighth to secure the game.
The Lions added a run in the ninth as Alex Ferrera doubled to right center to lead off the inning and Nick Cox singled up the middle to score Ferrera for the final 10-2 margin.
Nick McCully went eight innings for CCU, giving up just two hits, one run, while added five strikeouts.
Ferrera led the Lions offensively with two hits and a run scored.
The Lions will face East Carolina at 1 p.m. on Saturday.