Clemson is arguably the hottest team in the country now. To say a lot has changed in the last two months might be an understatement. Looking back, you might say that Coastal Carolina played a part in the Tiger’s success.
Coastal Carolina and Clemson played each other in a midweek game on April 5. Clemson was 14-12 and had just been swept by UNC. The weekend prior they lost a series to NC State. The Tigers were not a top 10 team at that time.
Coastal, on the other hand, had just swept archrival Liberty. The Chanticleers were 18-10 but seemed to have turned the corner. They were playing good baseball.
Clemson won that game in 10 innings. They scored one in the ninth to send it to extra innings and one in the tenth to win it.
Obviously both teams wanted the win. In a way though, you could say that Clemson needed it more that Coastal. The Tigers have not lost a series since that game.
Here we are two months later. Both teams are playing well. The question is which team wants it more today?
It was touted as a pitcher’s duel with two potential first round aces going head to head. It ended in a 13-1 Chanticleer victory. A few notes from Game 1 at the Clemson Regional.
As expected, UConn Ace Matt Barnes started on the hill for the Huskies. He is projected as a top 15 selection in the draft next week. The Chanticleers countered with ace Anthony Meo, also a projected first rounder.
The Game Plan
In two words: small ball. It was obvious from the beginning that Coach Gilmore’s plan was to get back to classic Chanticleer baseball: 1. Get on base; 2. Advance; and 3. Score.
Scott Woodward started the game with a walk. Then he did what Coastal fans have come to expect: He stole second. With a Rich Witten bunt, Woodward was on third with one out. A sacrifice fly by Tommy La Stella and Coastal would take a one run lead and never look back.
Walks, bunts, stolen bases, hits by pitch and sacrifice fly balls are the bread and butter of the Chanticleer offense, but don’t forget the long ball. Coastal has struggled with the new bats and has considerably fewer home runs this season. They did have three today.
Fortunately there were too many to list them all and keep this post down to a manageable word count.
Focus – The main note would obviously be that the team played well and appeared to be focused.
Hayes Orton – Number 5 went 5 for 5.
Tucker Frawley – Hit by pitch three times. The last time that happened to a Chanticleer was Rico Noel two years ago.
Confidence – This game had to be a confidence builder for the team. I thought the team looked really good and played as well or better than they have all season. They will need that for their next game.
Coastal will face off against host and 1 seed Clemson at 7:00 on Saturday.