The lowest seed in the NCAA Atlantic Regional bracket is in the best possible position in that bracket as of Friday evening.
A pair of home runs were the difference as the University of Charleston baseball team defeated West Chester 3-1 on Friday in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to knock the Rams out of the postseason and put the Golden Eagles one win away from advancing to the next round.
Charleston’s chance to advance will come Saturday against a team it already has defeated, Gannon, at 11 a.m. Saturday. Gannon must beat UC twice to advance in the double-elimination tournament.
Gannon, the Atlantic’s No. 3 seed, lost to No. 6 seed Charleston (39-17) on Thursday, but rallied to beat No. 2 seed West Chester on Friday afternoon and send the Rams against UC needing a win to stay alive.
UC pounced first, getting an Austin Hathaway home run to left in the first inning for the early 1-0 lead. West Chester finally responded in the fifth, when Jared Melone’s single through the right side drove in a run and tied the game.
The two teams stayed knotted at 1 until the bottom of the eighth. Then, Jordan Bailey smacked his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot over the right field wall that put the Golden Eagles up to stay.
Jacob Kaiser pitched three innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Brandon Harris was strong in his start for UC as well, scattering nine hits and allowing just one earned run. Charleston advanced despite recording just three hits in the game.