Baseball at the Beach – Illinois

Coastal Carolina faces the University of Illinois today at 2:30 at Ticket Return. Com Field.

Although both teams entered the tournament with identical records, the Chants bested common opponent George Mason 3-2 on Thursday while UI dropped a 3-0 decision to the Patriots yesterday.

Offense – Illinois can pound it out. They scored 29 runs last weekend.

Defense – Unfortunately, they also gave up 28 runs last weekend.

Pitching – Red shirt junior Drasen Johnson is the probable starter for the Illini. The RHP recorded a career-high 10 strike outs against Georgia State last weekend.

Of note – Illinois led after seven innings in each loss last weekend.

Coastal leads the all-time series 2-1 and won the last meeting 5-4 on March 4, 2014.

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Baseball at the Beach 2014 Preview – Part One

Coastal Carolina welcomes George Mason, Illinois,Wichita State and Connecticut to Myrtle Beach for the Caravelle Resort’s annual Baseball at the Beach Tournament at TicketReturn.Com Field.

Here is the schedule:

THURSDAY
Feb. 20  George Mason at Coastal Carolina      4:00 pm

FRIDAY
Feb. 21  George Mason vs. Illinois             Noon   
         Wichita State vs. Connecticut         4:00 pm
SATURDAY
Feb. 22  Wichita State vs. George Mason       10:00 am
         Illinois at Coastal Carolina          1:30 pm
         George Mason vs. Connecticut          5:00 pm
SUNDAY
Feb. 23  Illinois vs. Wichita State            9:30 am
         Connecticut at Coastal Carolina       1:30 pm             

MONDAY
Feb. 24  Wichita State at Coastal Carolina     4:00 pm

The Chanticleers are 1-2 after the opening weekend against Pitt. Here is a brief look at George Mason. I hope to put up another preview sometime before first pitch on Saturday. 

George Mason is 3-0 and put up 43 runs last weekend in Spartanburg. The Patriots defeated Morehead State twice with scores of 14-4 and 22-5. They also blanked USC Upstate 7-0.  

Senior infielder Chris Cook and senior catcher Tobin Tucker lead the Patriot offense. Cook (.615) has two homeruns and nine runs scored. Tucker (.571) has seven RBI.

On the mound, the Chants can expect to see senior Jared Gaynor. The senior LHP is one of two Patriot starters with a 0.00 ERA.

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Opening Day

The Chanticleers open the 2014 season against the University of Pittsburgh at 4:00 p.m. today at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

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State v. Henson – Murder conviction reversed because of Confrontation Clause violation

In State v. Henson, decided January 22, 2014, the S.C. Supreme Court reversed convictions for murder and other charges because of a violation of the Confrontation Clause. The trial court’s admission of the codefendant’s confession was a Bruton violation.

I have blogged about Bruton before.

Anyway, this case involved four defendants. Two took deals and testified for the state. The third gave a confession implicating the fourth defendant – Henson.

Prior to trial, Henson moved for a severance. The trial court denied the motion because it thought that the state’s redacted copy would satisfy the Bruton issue. What the state had done was to simply take Henson’s name out and put in “the guy,” “he,” and “him.”

I don’t think that fooled anyone and the Supreme Court didn’t think so either.

The jury likely would infer that Henson—a male, seated before them as a defendant, and the only defendant not named in the confession—was the fourth individual and the shooter referenced in Reid’s confession. The jury also could presume the solicitor would not both assert that Henson was the fourth conspirator and offer the confession into evidence if the solicitor believed the confession referred to anyone other than Henson.

Harmless Error

A Confrontation Clause violation is subject to harmless error analysis. The Court could have easily declared this error harmless given the fact that two co-defendants testified Henson did it. In refusing to do so, the Court took the opportunity to point out something that I have been saying for years – snitches can’t be trusted. Of course, the Supreme Court said it in a nicer way than I did.

The only evidence other than Reid’s confession actually identifying Henson as a conspirator was the testimony of Ervin and Newman. However, Ervin and Newman both faced charges for their participation in the crimes and thus, had an incentive to downplay their involvement and shift blame onto others. Therefore, we conclude the error was not harmless.

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Coastal at Carolina – CCU baseball at UNC

The Chanticleers head up Tobacco Road today to take on the nation’s number one baseball team in the Tar Heels of UNC.

First pitch is set for 6:00 PM at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

This is the second matchup this season between the Chants (24-12, 10-2) and the Heels (34-2, 15-2). They played an add-on game earlier this year and the Heels won 7-1.

This is the most important game of the year for Coastal. Not because it’s a game against the number one team in the nation. Not because it’s a chance to avenge an earlier loss. Those are good reasons to look forward to the game but the real reason this game is important is because of timing.

Both teams are playing well right now and enter this game riding nine game win streaks. The Chanticleers have won 17 of their last 19 games. Team batting average is up. They lead the Big South. They seem to have righted the ship.

Critics, however, will attribute this recent success to a lower quality opponent. Well, it doesn’t get any higher than today.

The Tar Heels, on the other hand, just continue to roll – They have only two losses for the entire year. It’s a midweek game for them and that’s exactly the way they will treat it. If they win, they were expected to win. If not, chalk it up to the old “non-weekend non-starter” nonsense. Midweek or not, if this game is close at the end – and it should be – watch Coach Fox. You better believe he’ll be coaching it like a trip to Omaha is on the line.

The Chants will win tonight’s game if they continue to play solid fundamental baseball. Expect a great start from So. LHP Austin Kerr followed by Coastal’s outstanding bullpen. Mix in some error free ball with clutch hitting and you’ll have a definite W for the Chanticleers.

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Coastal Carolina Baseball at Winthrop – Preview

The Chanticleers (21-12, 7-2) travel to Rock Hill, S.C. for a three-game series with the Eagles (12- 22, 2-7) at Winthrop Ball Park.  Game one is today at 6:00 PM; Game 2 is set for 3:00 PM on Saturday; and the final game on Sunday at 1:00 PM.

Both teams come into the series with momentum from big midweek wins. Coastal defeated College of Charleston 2-1 in a fourteen inning marathon Wednesday in Myrtle Beach. The Chants have now won six in a row and 10 out of their last 11 games.

Winthrop is riding Uncle Mo after an impressive 13-4 victory over Furman on Wednesday. Chanticleer fans may recall that Furman swept Coastal in a two game midweek series earlier this season.

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Coastal Carolina at Virginia Military Institute Preview

Coastal Carolina (13-11, 2-1) travels to Lexington, Va. to take on Virginia Military Institute (12-15, 1-2) in a three-game series at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game one is today at 5:00 PM and a doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday starting at 1:00 PM.

Audio for all three games will be broadcast live by the Chanticleer Sports Network. Saturday’s games will be available via webcast on the Big South Network.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Fri.: VMI LHP Connor Bach (1-2, 2.78) vs. Coastal LHP Ben Smith (2-1, 1.42)
Sat, Game 1: VMI LHP Campbell Henkel (1-2, 4.76) vs. Coastal RHP Tyler Poole (3-1, 2.96)
Sat., Game 2: VMI RHP Jeremy Brown (3-0, 2.96) vs. Coastal RHP Tyler Herb (3-1, 5.52)

Of Note

VMI is on a hot streak. The Keydets have won six of their last seven games, including Tuesday’s shutout of a very good Virginia Tech.

Coastal, on the other hand, is having an up-and-down season so far. After dropping a heartbreaking BSC opener last Friday, the Chants are on a two-game winning streak.

Key to the Series

Fundamental baseball – it’s that simple. The team that executes will when the series.  VMI has a slight edge in team hitting at .305 compared to Coastal’s .267 team average. Both squads are fielding at .954 and have more than their fair share of errors. The Keydets have booted the ball 46 times while the Chants have kicked it around 43 times.

The Chanticleers will win the series if they can muster up some run support.

So far this year timely hitting has been elusive for Coastal but it’s only a matter of time – hitting begets hitting. They’ll come around.

Prediction: CCU sweep.

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