Jan. 27, 2012
CONWAY - Rain early Friday threatened the possibility of having an intrasquad scrimmage on the NCAA's official first day of baseball practice. However, the inclement weather moved through quickly in the morning and the Chanticleers, picked as the 2012 Big South Conference preseason favorite to repeat as champion, proceeded as planned.
"We have had great weather all January and today turned out to be no different," said head coach Gary Gilmore. "If it had rained, it is nice to know we have the best indoor facility in the nation, but there is nothing like playing outside and seeing these guys compete in game-like situations."
In addition to the weather cooperating, Coastal Carolina received some other good news Friday as the team was ranked 35th in the 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers 15th annual Division I preseason poll.
The Chants only return nine lettermen from last year's squad, which won its fifth-straight Big South regular season and tournament titles while playing in an NCAA Regional for the 10th time in 11 years. However, back is preseason Big South Pitcher of the Year Josh Conway, one of ESPN.com's top 15 returning seniors Daniel Bowman and Rich Witten, runner-up for the preseason Big South Player of the Year. Rounding out the list of returning lettermen are Jacob May, Tucker Frawley, Tripp Martin, Ryan Connolly, Tyler Herb and Aaron Burke.
Overall 25 new faces dot the 2012 Coastal Carolina roster, including 2011 Major League draft picks Tyler Poole (RHP), Javier Reynoso (LHP/DH), Joe Perricone (RHP) and Patrick Corbett (RHP). Two players, catchers Greg Brodzinski and Will Remillard, will redshirt the 2012 season per NCAA transfer rules. Brodzinski comes to Coastal from the University of South Carolina and Remillard was Temple's starter as a true freshman last year.
"Starting this year is completely different from last year," Gilmore said. "In fact, you have to go back a long way to find a team with so many new players. Don't be mistaken though. This group is very talented and versatile. Because of that, there is tremendous competition for every spot on the field and these guys are some of the hardest working players we have had. It will be my job to find the right mixes and matches to put the best group on the field. We may struggle early in the season while (we look for the right mix) is done or we could just as easily come out and be successful. Regardless, I do think we have all the pieces to be among the top teams at year's end."
Coastal Carolina opens the season Feb. 17-19, hosting the Caravelle Resort Tournament at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The Chants' first game is set for Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. versus James Madison. The Dukes are defending Colonial Athletic Conference champion, reached the final of the 2011 Chapel Hill Regional and have been picked to repeat as CAA champion. On day two, Coastal will host perennial power and 2011 College World Series semifinalist Virginia. The event will conclude Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. when Coastal hosts Boston College. Last season, before a Watson Stadium regular-season record crowd of 1,373, the Chants beat the Eagles in dramatic fashion as Hayes Orton hit a three-run walk-off home run for a 9-6 win. CLICK HERE FOR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CCU-BC GAME.
In fact, Coastal Carolina will open the season with 23 consecutive home games before hitting the road March 26 to face preseason #3 North Carolina. Also making the NCBWA top 35 from Coastal's 2012 schedule was #17 Clemson, #23 Virginia and #27 St. John's. Teams on CCU's home schedule that played in an NCAA Regional last season include North Carolina State, Connecticut and Illinois.
Coastal Carolina 2012 baseball season tickets are on sale now. For more information on obtaining your 2012 baseball season tickets, please visit http://www.goccusports.com/tickets/baseball-ticket-info.html or call either 843-347-TIXX (843-347-8499) or toll free at 877-4-CHANTS (877-424-2687).