Monthly Archives: February 2012

CCU’s Ryan Connolly Named Big South Pitcher of the Week

Big South Conference officials named junior RHP Ryan Connolly (Bishop England High School – Charleston, SC) the Pitcher of the Week today.

The Chanticleer reliever made three appearances this weekend and picked up two saves while posting a .0 ERA.

In the Coastal win over Iowa Connolly pitched the final 1.1 innings while giving up no hits, runs or walks. He did give up a hit in the N.C. State win, but ended the game with a ground out and two fly outs.

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Coastal Carolina Baseball – Looking Back at Week Two

The Chanticleers went 2-1 in the Baseball at the Beach Tournament. They defeated Iowa 1-0 in game one. Virginia Tech outlasted the Chants on Saturday 3-1 and they held on against N.C. State on Sunday to win 3-2. Coastal Carolina is now 3-3 for the year.

This is the link to click on for a story about the win over Iowa and here are a few notes about the Virginia Tech and N.C. State games.

Game 2: Virginia Tech 3, Coastal Carolina 1

Virginia Tech defeated Coastal Carolina 3-1 Saturday at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach. As promised, both starting pitchers delivered outstanding performances.

Chanticleer RHP Josh Conway went seven innings striking out 10 while giving up two runs on six hits. He did not have a walk.

Hokie LHP Joe Mantiply went five and two-thirds innings giving up one run on five hits. He struck out five and walked three.

The difference in the game was that Virginia Tech was able to capitalize on some timely hits and Coastal wasn’t.

Conway and Mantiply, who both entered the game without an earned run, kept the bats fairly quiet for the first four innings but back-to-back doubles in the top of the fifth put the Hokies on top 1-0. Virginia Tech added another in the sixth with a triple and sacrifice.

The Chanticleers loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth but could only plate one run.

The Hokies added a run in the ninth on a Coastal error.

Virginia Tech         000 011 001 –   3  7  0

Coastal Carolina   000 001 000 –  1  7  1

 Game Three: Coastal Carolina 3, N.C. State 2

Coach Gary Gilmore made a few changes in the starting lineup for Sunday’s game. First, he flipped Luke Willis and Ted Blackman in the one and two holes in the batting order. Second he moved the hot hitting Tucker Frawley up to bat cleanup.

Defensively, Gilmore started Rich Witten at his old position, first base and put Tripp Martin in at third.

Freshman Ben Smith got the start on the mound for the Chants and went three innings. The freshman LHP allowed two unearned runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked one.

N.C. State scored two in the third inning. An error and a walk put Pack runners on first and second. After a double steal, a sacrifice fly to right field scored one. An RBI hit to left center plated the second run but that would be all.

Devon Bradley came in to start the fourth and did a fantastic job. He pitched three perfect innings while striking out one.

Aaron Burke, Javier Reynosa and Ryan Connolly also had great outings from the bullpen with Burke picking up the win and Conolly getting his second save.

The Chanticleers loaded the bases in the fourth inning but just like yesterday though, they could only plate one run. Witten started it off with a single to left field. Frawley was hit by a pitch and Dan Bowman singled to shortstop to fill the bags.

Wolfpack starter Carlos Rodon struck out the next two Chants and looked like he would get out of the jam but he walked Justin Creel for the RBI. Rodon struck the next batter out to end the inning.

Coastal loaded the bases again in the seventh inning. Creel led it off with a single through the left side. Keith Picconi came on to pitch hit and walked. Luke Willis advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Ted Blackman walked. Witten hit into what appeared to be an easy 6-4-2 double play but an errant throw to first allowed two runs to score.

This was a good win over a quality opponent. Rodon is one of the best freshman pitchers in the country and the Wolfpack is one of the highest scoring teams this year. To not only get the win but to hold them to two runs is a great accomplishment.

This win should be the confidence booster that the Chants have been looking for. I would also like to remind everyone that although the Chanticleers are only .500, that is exactly where they were at this time last year.

North Carolina State   002 000 000 – 2 6 2

Coastal Carolina           000 100  20X – 3 6 1

The Chanticleers return to action March 2-4 in the Coastal Carolina Invitational against Pittsburgh, Illinois and St. John’s. I will have a preview on Friday.

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Coastal Carolina Baseball Shuts Out Iowa 1-0

Friday nights have been very good to Coastal Carolina baseball so far. Despite committing three errors, the Chanticleers picked up their second win of the season beating Iowa 1-0 Friday night in their game one of the Baseball at the Beach Tournament. Tyler Herb got his second win in as many starts.

For now, I plan to start our look at the weekend games with the lineup. With so many newcomers, I think it will be interesting to see how Coach Gilmore tinkers with it trying to find the best arrangement. Of course that may change as the season grows and Gilmore figures out the pieces.

Other than Luke Willis in center field, the lineup was the same as last Friday. Willis started for Jacob May who is still out from an injury suffered during a collision in the Virginia game last Saturday.

In case you missed it last week, here are the Coastal starters:

1. Ted Blackman, LF
2. Luke Willis, CF
3. Rich Witten, 3B
4. Sloan Gilliam, 1B
5. Daniel Bowman, RF
6. Bryce Dial, DH
7. Tucker Frawley, C
8. Justin Creel, 2B
9. Bryan Pruett, SS

The Scoring:
First baseman Sloan Gilliam led off the fourth inning with a double to left field. He moved to third on Daniel Bowman’s sacrifice bunt. Gilliam scored on Bryce Daniel’s RBI ground out to third. The Chants put another runner on base with a walk but a groundout ended the inning.

Defensive Changes and Mixing it Up:
Although he never had a big lead, Gilmore did make one defensive change. He started off the eighth inning by moving Witten back to first and brought in freshman Chris Suseck to play third.

Speaking of defense, I thought the Chanticleers looked sharper in the outfield tonight than they did last weekend. I know that probably doesn’t sound right since they committed three errors. Nevertheless, they didn’t give up and they seemed to stay a little more focused. They turned one double play and made a few great plays on balls that could have been hits.

Pitching:
It was Friday night and so far this season that means sophomore Tyler Herb starting on the hill. He went seven innings and gave up three hits and struck out four. He also gave up two walks. That’s two starts and two Ws.  Not bad.

Freshman Austin Kerr started the eighth in relief. The LHP from Chester High School in Chester, SC gave up a hit and struck out one in two-thirds innings.

Junior Ryan Connolly, Bishop England High School in Charleston, SC came on with runners on second and third and two outs. The junior RHP ended the Hawkeye threat with a strikeout. Connolly came back in the ninth to close out the game with a ground out and two strikeouts for the save. I think the Chants have found their closer.

The Chanticleers are now 2-2 and play Virginia Tech at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at BB&T Coastal Field.

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Baseball at the Beach 2012 Preview

Coastal Carolina welcomes West Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason, Iowa and N.C. State to Myrtle Beach for the Caravelle Resort’s annual Baseball at the Beach Tournament.

Here is the schedule:

Friday February 24, 2012

West Virginia v. Virginia Tech – 12:00 p.m. at BB&T Coastal Field

George Mason v. N.C. State – 2:00 p.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field

Coastal Carolina v. Iowa – 4:00 p.m. at BB&T Coastal Field

Saturday February 25, 2012

George Mason v. Iowa – 11:00 a.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field

Coastal v. Virginia Tech – 1:00 p.m. at BB&T Coastal Field

N. C. State v. West Virginia – 3:00 p.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field

Virginia Tech v. George Mason – 5:00 p.m. at BB&T Coastal Field

Sunday February 26, 2012

Iowa v. Virginia Tech – 10:00 a.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field

West Virginia v. George Mason – 11:00 a.m. at BB&T Coastal Field ET

Coastal Carolina v. North Carolina State – 3:00 p.m. at BB&T Coastal Field

The Chanticleers are 1-2 after the opening weekend. This week they will try to get to .500 against ACC teams and start off with a win against their first Big Ten team of the season.

Here is a brief look at Coastal’s opponents.

Iowa (1-2)

The Hawkeyes make the trip up to Myrtle Beach from St. Petersburg, Florida where they went 1-2 in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge last weekend.  They won their opener 7-5 against Pittsburgh but lost games two and three to Notre Dame 5-2 and WVU 4-3, respectively.

Expect to see senior LHP Jarred Hippen start on the mound Friday. Hippen ranks 10th among active pitchers with 180 career strikeouts. He is also a two-time second team All-Big Ten honoree and one of three pitchers named to the 2012 Big Ten Preseason All-Conference First Team by College Sports Madness.

Last Friday against Pittsburgh, Hippen went 5 and two-thirds innings while giving up five runs and striking out two. He gave up 10 hits and one walk.

Senior relief pitcher Tim Fangman (1-0) heads up the bullpen. He relieved Hippen in the sixth and closed out the game for the win. The right hander retired ten of the twelve batters he faced while striking out two and giving up an infield single.

The preseason hype was that the Iowa offense would be led by Mike “Q” McQuillan and so far the senior second baseman has one hit in each game. Senior first baseman Phil Keppler started the year off with three hits in game one but hasn’t had one since.

Chett Zeise on the other hand, has six hits this season – two in each of the three previous games. It’s just a matter of time before these hitters get their stride and if they break out at the same time, it could be a high scoring game. So far though, the Hawkeyes have spread the scoring around with seven players having at least one RBI.

Virginia Tech (3-1)

The Hokies were 40-22 last year and 16-14 in the ACC. They were selected to finish third from the bottom in the ACC coaches’ preseason poll. That’s the same poll that had Boston College picked last and the Eagles are now 3-0 with wins over CWS participant Virginia, James Madison and of course our beloved Chants.

The Virginia Tech pitching staff is loaded. Two-thirds of last year’s weekend rotation return in LHP Joe Mantiply (5-8, 4.36) and RHP Marc Zecchino (6-5, 4.66, 97Ks).  Redshirt-senior Manny Martir, junior Patrick Scoggin and sophomore Eddie Campbell also return with starting experience and will vie for that third spot in the rotation.

The bullpen will have plenty of experienced arms with transfers Andrew Aizenstadt, junior Tanner McIntyre and redshirt-sophomore Devin Burke.

The Hokie offense is led by Andrew Rash from Westside High School in Anderson, SC. The redshirt-junior outfielder (.335) had a slugging percentage of .707 in 2011. His preseason honors this year include Collegiate Baseball’s Louisville Slugger preseason All-America, third team outfield and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason All-America, third team outfield.

Coastal Carolina defeated Virginia Tech 6-5 in last year’s contest with Tripp Martin’s walk-off two-run home run.

N. C. State (3-1)

The Wolfpack come to Myrtle Beach with a 3-1 record and some pretty imposing numbers. They outscored opponents 34-6 in their three wins. Last weekend N.C. State defeated Marshall 10-3 and Youngstown State 14-3 before dropping a game to Wright State 5-4 in 11 innings.

On Tuesday night the Wolfpack scoring machine continued to roll as they shutout UNC-Wilmington 10-0.

The offense is led by Chris Diaz. The junior SS leads the team at .500 and has a four game hit streak.  Fellow infielders freshman 3B Trea Turner (.400) and senior Danny Canela (.400) are also swinging the bat well this year, as is senior Andrew Ciencin who went 3-for-5 in the UNC-W game.

The Pack has a solid starting rotation this year. Freshman LHP Carlos Rodon, Baseball America’s number 3 college prospect, has already made two appearances. He came on in relief in game one to pitch four innings and pick up the win. He went five scoreless innings against Wilmington for a no decision. It’s probably just a matter of time before he gets into the weekend rotation.

D.J. Thomas, junior RHP Ethan Ogburn and Vance Williams were the projected preseason starting rotation. Ogburn started game one. However, Junior RHP Danny Healey  and redshirt sophomore RHP Anthony Tzamtzis started games two and three, repectively.

Chris Overman is the bullpen leader. He is on the national Stopper of the Year watch list.

Last year N.C. State defeated Coastal 12-3.

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Coastal Carolina Drops Doubleheader

The Caravelle Resort Tournament is over and Coastal Carolina is now 1-2. The Chanticleers lost to Virginia 9-3 and Boston College 8-3. I’m spending the day getting ready for a trial tomorrow so here are a few brief notes about the games.

Virginia

The short version is that the Coastal bullpen couldn’t hold onto a 2-0 lead and the offense failed to capitalize on a combination of a few timely hits and walks. The Cavaliers did just that.

The Chanticleers started the same lineup they used in game one.

Junior RHP Josh Conway made his debut for the Chants and went five scoreless innings. He struck out two and gave up three hits. Although Conway didn’t surrender any runs, he did struggle at times as he walked five. After Coastal went up 2-0 in the bottom of the 5th, Gilmore went to the bullpen to start off the sixth inning.

Junior RHP Aaron Burke came in to start the sixth. He gave up singles to the first two Cavalier batters and the third laid down a bunt and reached on an errant throw. Freshman Austin Kerr came in next and got a taste of true pressure when he made his debut with the bases loaded and no outs.

Kerr induced a pop up and catcher Tucker Frawley made a spectacular catch at the backstop for the first out. Kerr followed that up with a walk and a strikeout before giving way to another freshman reliever. Patrick Corbett came on to record a strikeout with three pitches and end the inning with a 2-1 Chanticleer lead.

Virginia put the game out of contention with a three-run home run in the seventh inning.

Coastal went to another freshman reliever in Javier Reynoso in the eighth. Inexplicably, the Cavaliers went yard again for another three-run homer. RHP Woody Nisbet came on in the 9th to finish the game for the Chanticleers.

Virginia                      000 001 350 –  9 11  0

Coastal Carolina     000 020 001 –  3  8   1

Boston College

The Eagles definitely played better than expected and finished the tournament undefeated at 3-0. The short story for the Chanticleers is in the box score. They committed four errors while giving up nine hits.

Coastal used the same starting lineup with exception of Keith Picconi at second and Luke Willis at center field, replacing the injured Jacob May.

Freshman LHP Ben Smith started on the hill for Coastal and went 3.1 innings giving up six hits and one walk. Devon Bradley came on for 2.2 innings and Austin Wallace went the remaining three to close out the game.

Boston College      201  500 000 – 8 9 2

Coastal Carolina   000 000 003 – 3 5 4

Coastal Carolina returns to action in the Baseball at the Beach Tournament beginning this Friday. The Chanticleers play Iowa, Va. Tech and N.C. State.

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Coastal Carolina Baseball Wins Season Opener

Coastal Carolina won its seventh season opener in a row besting the James Madison University Dukes 7-1 on Friday night before an overflow crowd at home. The Chanticleers looked pretty impressive, especially for a “rebuilding” year – a year with 20 newcomers on the roster and five in the starting lineup. That being said, I think that’s a good place to start our look at game one.

The Lineup:
1. Ted Blackman, LF
2. Jacob May, CF
3. Rich Witten, 3B
4. Sloan Gilliam, 1B
5. Daniel Bowman, RF
6. Bryce Dial, DH
7. Tucker Frawley, C
8. Justin Creel, 2B
9. Bryan Pruett, SS

That’s right, Senior Rich Witten at third base. Although he started at first base last year and hasn’t played third since high school, Coach Gary Gilmore moved Witten. This is perhaps the best example of how difficult it must be for him to adjust his roster.

On the other hand, it appears that Gilmore’s decisions on some positions were easy. Senior Daniel Bowman returned to right field and Tucker Frawley is still the starting catcher. As expected, Jacob May moved from left field to center. Newcomers filled the remaining positions, including true freshman Bryan Pruett at shortstop.

The Scoring:
Designated hitter Bryce Dial hit a one-out single in the bottom of the second inning. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on Tucker Frawley’s RBI single.  Coastal loaded the bases with a walk and a hit-by-pitch but an intervening fly out and a strikeout ended the inning.

The Dukes tied it up in the fourth inning. Sophomore Connor Brown singled to third base to get it started. Two ground outs moved him to third. Fellow infielder junior Bradley Shaban singled him home. Senior Ian Haynes grounded out to end the inning with one left on base.

Coastal had nine batters in the fifth inning, scoring four more runs. Jacob May doubled with one out. Witten walked. They advanced on steals and May went home on a throwing error.  Witten scored on an RBI single by red shirt junior Sloan Gilliam. Dial tripled to right center scoring Gilliam. Frawley walked and there were Chanticleers on the corners but not for long. Relief pitcher Michael Howerton erred in a pickoff throw to first sending Dial home and Frawley to second. Coastal would get another walk but a fly out to center would end the inning, leaving two Chants on base.

Coastal scored its final two runs in the sixth. Ted Blackman singled to lead off the inning. He moved to second when May walked on four straight balls. Blackman moved to third with Witten’s fly out to left field. JMU freshman pitcher Chris Huffman was called for a balk moving May to second and scoring Blackman. May scored the final Chanticleer run on an error.

Defensive Changes and Mixing it Up:
With a 7-1 lead, Gilmore started making some changes in the top of the seventh. He moved Witten back to first and brought in freshman Chris Suseck to play third. Keith Picconi pinch hit for Justin Creel in the bottom half of the inning.  In the eighth Adam Eggnatz replaced Blackman and Luke Willis came in for May. Josh Powell replaced Frawley behind the plate in the ninth.

Pitching:
Sophomore Tyler Herb started on the hill for the Chants and went seven innings. He gave up seven hits, one run but not one walk. That’s a huge difference from last year. In his freshman season, Herb was slotted as a starter but he struggled and only started two games. If tonight is any indication of what he can do for this team, he has gone a long way towards solidifying his role in the starting rotation.

Freshman Chris Harrison, from White Knoll High School in Lexington SC, came on in the eighth. He didn’t appear to show any problems from his Tommy John surgery. He closed out the game giving up four hits and recording two Ks. He didn’t issue a walk either. Of his 31 pitches, 24 were for strikes.

Although he gave up three hits in the eighth, I thought he showed good composure getting the batter to fly out with an 0-2 count and the bases loaded. That ended the inning with three Dukes left onboard. If he stays healthy, he could make a great contribution to this team.

Notable:
The Defense – no errors

Bryce Dial – 2 hits, including a triple and 2 runs

Jacob May – 2 runs and a stolen base

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Coastal Carolina Baseball Schedule Changes

Due to impending rain in the area, the schedule for the Caravelle Resort Tournament has changed. The teams will now play a doubleheader on Saturday. The first three games will be played at Coastal and the fourth in Myrtle Beach at BB&T Coastal Field. Here is how it looks.

James Madison v. Boston College at 10:00 a.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.
Virginia v. Coastal Carolina at 2:00 p.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.
Boston College v. Coastal Carolina at 6:00 p.m. at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.
Virginia v. James Madison approximately 6:40 p.m. at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach.

Of course this is all subject to change, due to the weather.

By the way, the scores from today’s games were Boston College over Virginia 5-3 and Coastal Carolina over James Madison 7-1.

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