Jan. 28, 2011
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina baseball team, ranked 20th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches preseason Top 25, had its first official team practice of 2011 Friday, a marathon session that ended with a seven-inning game.
Coastal was previously tabbed 24th by Collegiate Baseball and 19th by Rivals.com in their respective preseason polls and the Chants have been ranked in at least one national poll for 67 consecutive weeks (Feb. 19, 2007-preseason 2011). CCU opponents also making the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll were Clemson (#5) and Virginia (#14), while the following also received votes: North Carolina, San Diego, College of Charleston, California, Kansas State, Kent State, Liberty and North Carolina State.
Friday's first practice got cooperation from Mother Nature as a near perfect day set the stage. In anticipation, several players took early batting practice and, when practice officially began, the focus turned to defense.
A round of batting practice gave way to the first intrasquad game of 2011. Redshirt freshman Stefan del Pino was sharp, allowing two hits and a run with three strikeouts in four innings. On the other side, Tyler Herb gave up back-to-back, leadoff hits to Scott Woodward and Hayes Orton. After a sacrifice fly by Tripp Martin, Tucker Frawley reached on a fielder's choice and Jacob May followed with an RBI single to center, giving his team an early 3-0 lead.
Herb settled down, allowing just one hit and one unearned run over his final four innings, for a line of 5.0 innings pitched, four hits, four runs (three earned), a walk and a strikeout.
Offensively, May had two hits, while Tommy La Stella had three for his team in a losing effort.
"Today was a great day for our first practice," said head coach Gary Gilmore. "We've had an unusual January as far as being colder than normal, but the good Lord was watching out for us today. You could not have asked for a better day for our first practice.
"We are really excited about this team. It is a different team than last year, and it will be hard to place guys like Rico (Noel), Jose (Iglesias), Adam (Rice) and Chance (Gilmore). They were very productive and were a big part of our offense. That being said, I think we have the talent to still be a threat offensively and I definitely like our versatility. I also think our pitching depth is better this year and, at this point, we will not have to piece together our starting rotation like last year.
"While we have been able to work individually and in groups with these guys since classes started back, today showed a new sense of urgency. This practice today counted and the guys responded for the most part. We have 21 days now until our first pitch and we have a lot to accomplish in that short time."
That first pitch will be at 4 pm on Feb. 18 (Friday) when Coastal Carolina hosts Boston College at Watson Satdium/Vrooman Field as part of the Caravelle Resort Tournament.
To purchase 2011 Coastal Carolina baseball season tickets, please visit www.GoCCUSports.com for prices and/or order online. For questions, contact the CCU Athletics Ticket Office at 1-877-424-2687 or locally at 843-347-TIXX (8499). Also, orders may be obtained in person at the CCU Athletics Ticket Office, located in the main lobby of Arcadia Hall, home of the Athletics Administration Offices.