By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
With the No. 1 offense in the league, the fact that Concord can hit is no secret.
Guess what: The pitching isn’t that bad, either.
Tyler Coyle turned in the Mountain Lions’ third solid effort in as many games, tossing a complete game in a 6-3 win over Fairmont State Friday in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament at Beckley’s Linda K. Epling Stadium.
The victory set up today’s 1 p.m. championship game between Concord and West Virginia State. It will be a rematch of the 2011 title game, won 13-7 by Concord.
Coyle (7-4) was a vital reason for the Mountain Lions getting back to the title game.
The left-hander from Clemmons, N.C., allowed seven hits and three earned runs but struck out seven and walked one. Except for a hiccup in the fifth, Coyle was in control.
“I was just trying to make pitches and throw strikes,” said Coyle, who threw 119 pitches. “I know I have a good defense behind me so I was just trying to let them make the plays.”
The performance from Coyle was the definition of keeping hitters off balance. Leadoff hitter Jeremy Walter struck out waving at an outside pitch, setting the tone for Coyle’s day.
“He’s the kind of pitcher who can provide that kind of atmosphere for you, because he throws three pitches for strikes,” Concord coach Andrew Wright said. “He throws
The game was a continuation of a theme that has helped Concord all week. The Lions (35-18) are hitting .368 and are the only team in the conference to surpass 500 runs scored this season.
But it’s been the pitching that has carried Concord in the postsesaon. Ryan Weatherholtz and Chris Baker combined to hold West Liberty to seven hits in the first game, then Kevin Mack and Will Zuspan allowed only six to Charleston as Concord won by identical scores of 5-1.
“We’re just making quality pitches, I think,” Wright said. “Our guys are competitors and I think that’s what it comes down to.”
“We’ve just been working hard,” Coyle said. “The hitters are (joking) about the pitchers, that we are not as good as they are, so we had to prove that the pitchers have some good stuff, too.”
Coyle accomplished that against the Falcons, who stayed alive by coming back with a four-run eighth to beat Shepherd 10-8 in an elimination game Friday afternoon.
He faced one batter over the minimum through the first 4 2/3 innings, sitting down 10 consecutive batters at one point.
Coyle ran into two-out trouble in the fifth with his team leading 5-0.
A run-scoring double by Josh Wine brought in Shady Spring alumnus Tyler Lucas with the first Fairmont run. That was followed by consecutive RBI singles by Walter and Trevor Funk that made it a 5-3 game.
Concord got one of the runs back in the sixth when Bret Blevins led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on Jerrod Groves bunt and scored on a wild pitch.
The Lions went ahead 3-0 in the fourth thanks to RBI singles from Blevins, Groves and T.J. Brockway.
They added two more in the fifth. Ryan Johnston drove in Andrew Seigel with a sac fly and Joey Miller had a run-scoring single.
John Fox suffered the loss for Fairmont (23-25). He gave up five hits and four runs, three earned, walked two and struck out two over four-plus innings.
Shady Spring graduate Corey Lilly pitched well in relief. He was charged with two earned runs and three hits in five innings but struck out four and walked one.
Today, Concord will try to win its fifth conference title and the last ever. The WVIAC will disband and form the Mountain East Conference for competition to begin this fall.
“One-shot deal just like two years ago,” Wright said. “We’ve just got to come out with a lot of energy, and I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. Our guys are very up for this.”
— E-mail: gfauber
Concord 6, Fairmont State 3
CU: 000 321 000 — 6 8 0
FSU: 000 030 000 — 3 7 1
CU: Tyler Coyle and T.J. Brockway, Brandon Costa (9), FSU: John Fox, Corey Lilly (5) and Jeff Fansler. WP — Coyle. LP — Fox. Hitting — CU: Andrew Seigel 1-3, Devin Smith 1-4, Ryan Johnston 1-3 (rbi), Joey Miller 1-4, Bret Blevins 2-3 (rbi), Jerrod Groves 2-2 (rbi), Brockway (rbi), FSU: Jeremy Walter 2-4 (rbi), Trevor Funk 1-3 (rbi), Randy Tallhamer 1-4, Tyler Barnette 1-4, Tyler Lucas (run), Nick Breen 1-4, Josh Wine 1-4 (2b, rbi).
Records: CU: 35-18; FSU: 23-25.
Seton Hill 13, Charleston 2
The Seton Hill offense continued to soar, scoring at least one run in the initial seven innings en-route to a 13-2 win to eliminate Charleston in the opening game of day three of the 2013 WVIAC Baseball Tournament Friday.
The Griffins (39-14) pounded out 18 hits in the game, led by a 4-for-5 game from Jackson Boyd. WVIAC Player of the Year Nick Sell provided three RBIs for Seton Hill, while Mick Cima scored three runs and finished the game a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
The Griffins received a dominant effort from their pitching staff as Brett Sullivan earned the win after limiting the Golden Eagles (20-29) to only five hits and two runs. He fanned four batters in six innings. Relief pitcher Logan Urtz took the mound in the seventh and struck out five while allowing three hits in as many relief innings.
Robert Collin led Charleston at the plate, batting 2-for-4 and driving in the Golden Eagles two runs. Tyler Shreve took the loss after allowing nine hits and seven runs.
SH: 321 122 200 — 13 18 1
C: 000 002 000 — 2 8 1
SH: Brett Sullivan, Logan Urtz (7) and Mike Cima, Jonathan O’Neill. C: Shreve, Itnyre (4), Ciolfi (7), Catlett (9) and Iacovone, Kirk. WP — Sullivan LP — Shreve. Hitting — SH: Brendan Costantiono 2-6 (R, 2 RBIs), Pat McCarthy 2-5 (R, RBI, 2B), Nick Sell 2-4 (2R, 3 RBIs, HR), Mike Cima 3-3 (3R, 2 RBIs, 2B, HR), Josh Forbes 3-5 (2 RBIs), Jackson Boyd 4-5 (R, RBI), Brad Comport 1-3 (2 R), Ryan Hayden 1-3 (R). C: Foster 1-4 (R), Collin 2-4 (2 RBIs, 2B), Hill 1-4 (2B), Johnson 2-4, Rein 2-3 (R).
Records: SH: 39-14; LC 20-29.
Fairmont State 10, Shepherd 8
Fairmont State staved off elimination with a come-from-behind 10-8 win over Shepherd in the second game Friday afternoon. The Rams (28-22) were eliminated.
Shepherd jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the first inning, chasing FSU starting pitcher Ryan Fenwick after only one inning of work.
Shepherd scored three more runs in the second to take a convincing 7-0 lead.
However, after giving up the three runs in the second, Fighting Falcons (23-24) relief pitcher Tyler Kincaid and the FSU defense settled in and held the Rams scoreless for the ensuing five innings while the FSU offense picked up.
FSU scored two runs in the bottom of the third, another in the fifth and closed the deficit to one with a three-run sixth inning. Phillip Longnecker scored the first run of the sixth on a wild pitch and Nicholas Breen, and Josh Wine drove in a run apiece to pull the Fighting Falcons to within one, 7-6.
Shepherd’s Ryan Messina led off the eighth inning with a solo shot over the left field fence to extend the Rams’ lead to 8-6, but that would not be enough as the Fighting Falcons were able to take the lead in their half of the inning on some well-placed hits and aggressive base-running from FSU. Breen hit an RBI single to left-center to drive in Longnecker and Wine knotted the game at eight with a RBI single through the left side to score Tyler Lucas. Jeremy Walter plated the go-ahead runs with a two-run single through the left side to bring home Wine and Chase Fitzwater.
Relief pitcher Nick Mayle, who entered the game in the eighth, went back out in the ninth and held Shepherd to one hit to secure the win for FSU. Tyler Thomas earned the loss for the Rams, giving up four hits and four runs over 2 2-3 relief innings.
Longnecker was perfect in the game, batting 4-for-4, while Chad Murphy and Mark McCormick led Shepherd with three hits apiece.
S: 430 000 010 — 8 15 1
FS: 002 013 04X — 10 13 0
S: Ryan Pansch, Brian Martin (6), Tyler Thomas (6) and Chad Murphy FS: Fenwick, Kincaid (2), Mayle (8) and Fansler. WP — Mayle LP — Thomas. Hitting — S: Michael Lott 2-6 (2R, 2B, 3B), Jake Cook 2-5, Chad Murphy 3-6 (2R, RBI), Ryan Messina 1-3 (3R, RBI, HR), Kyle Porter 2-5 (R, 2 RBIs), Mark McCormick 3-4 (RBI), Bryan DiRosario 1-5 (RBI, 2B), Tyler Thomas 1-3 (RBI). FS: Walter 1-5 (2 RBIs), Funk 1-5 (2 RBIs), Fansler 1-4 (RBI), Longnecker 4-4 (2 R, 2B), Barnette 1-4 (R), Lucas 1-3 (2 R), Breen 2-3 (2 RBIs), Wine 2-3 (3R, 2 RBIs)
Records: S: 26-22; FS: 23-24.
West Virginia State 2, Seton Hill 1
Bob Carbaugh took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but West Virginia State's Cody Smith and Josh Kiser registered back-to-back RBI hits to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 2-1 victory and eliminate the Griffins from the tournament.
With the score tied at 0-0 and one out in the eighth, the Yellow Jackets produced their first hit of the game with a single from Noah Blackhurst.
Smith then shot a double to drive in Blackhurst and give West Virginia State its 1-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets proceeded to score their second run of the game on Kiser’s single before Seton Hill was able to get out of the inning.
The Griffins took one run back in the ninth on an RBI single by Josh Forbes. However, Jordan Butcher was able to finish off his complete game victory by stranding runners on second and third base.
WVS: 000 000 020 — 2 3 1
SH: 000 000 001 — 1 4 2
WVS: Butcher, and Payne SH: Bob Carbaugh, Austin Sleek (8) and Mike Cima WP — Butcher LP — Carbaugh. Hitting — WVS: Blackhurst 1-4 (R), Smith 1-3 (R, RBI), Kiser 1-3 (RBI) SH: Pat McCarthy 3-4 (R), Mike Cima 1-4
Records: WVS: 30-17; SH: 39-15.