Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baseball Bonanza, Gem Included

Here we are, in the midst of the Baseball Championship tourney--full name, "The 2011 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship Presented by Triangle Rent A Car." The event always promises a wealth of excitement and a list of storylines, but with five games completed, one stands out among the rest...keep reading, we'll get there.

All the action is happening at VMI, where a number of renovations and improvements have made Gray-Minor Stadium a solid host for this event. Play follows the same model of recent seasons, with a single-elimination first night to pare the lower four seeds to two teams, and then four days of full double-elimination bracket play.

This year that formula meant the elimination of the event host school in the very first game, a 3-1 win for Radford over VMI...always tough to lose the home team early, as it can have a tendency to deflate some of the crowd size and enthusiasm, but baseball attendance often poses a riddle in any year, given that school is out for most students anyway.

The other elimination game on Tuesday saw Gardner-Webb parade around the bases to mount a 14-4 victory against High Point. But, baseball being a fickle game, GWU got the other end of that stick the next day, when Liberty rode some home run hitting to a 13-5 win. For the Runnin' Bulldogs, the loss forces an elimination game on Thursday, while the Flames know they'll be around at least to Friday.

Like LU, Charleston Southern knows it will have at least two games ahead. CSU & Liberty will meet Thursday night, given that the Bucs dealt Winthrop a loss in a 9-3 final Wednesday.

Thursday's first game is an elimination game setting Radford against GWU...each squad won Tuesday night to stay alive, but dropped a game the next day against a higher seed. Now they face off against each other to see who's going home and who lives to play another day.

Radford got put in that game by top-seed Coastal Carolina. Well, they really got put there by star pitcher Anthony Meo, who tossed an absolute gem: the first no-hitter in Big South Conference Baseball Championship history. Now THAT earns a real SHOUT-out from us--what a remarkable performance (CCU celebration pictured). In fact, the no-no went both ways for the first four innings--neither side had mustered a hit by that point--but the Coastal bats awakened, while the Radford hitting could not find a solution for Meo's mastery. Credit CCU for the 5-0 win, and salute Meo for doing what no Big South pitcher had done before in this tournament. The Chants next draw old rival Winthrop Thursday afternoon, with a chance to eliminate the Eagles (although WU will be naturally doing all it can to prevent that outcome).

Remember, all three games on Thursday and again on Friday can be seen on the Big South Network at, while the game(s) for the Championship final on Saturday will be shown instead by

The full details of game schedules, with links to Live Stats, BSN streaming, and the tournament bracket, can all be found on the Baseball Championship page.

And, just in case you missed it, you can find the full listing of Big South Baseball All-Conference and season award honorees at

Enjoy the games, everybody--another year of competition is nearly in the books!


Big South Sports said...

And Thursday starts with GWU eliminating Radford by a score of 11-5...down to five teams now.

Big South Sports said...

Also Thursday, Coastal eliminates Winthrop and Liberty beats CSU...all of which sets up Friday games (all on Big South Network) of CSU vs GWU in elimination, CCU vs LU for one finalist, and first game winner vs second game loser to get the other finalist. Championship plays out on Saturday, starting at noon on