The Coastal Carolina University baseball team opens the 2009 campaign by hosting the Caravelle Resort Invitational at Charles Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The Chanticleers will open the tournament Friday, Feb. 20 against Southern Illinois. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. The 22nd-ranked Chanticleers will then face 19th-ranked Kentucky Saturday, Feb. 21 at 3:30 p.m. Coastal Carolina then faces Kentucky Sunday, Feb. 22 at 12 p.m., and follows that game with a matchup against James Madison beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Chanticleers are coming off a 50-14 season in 2008 which included an NCAA Conway Regional championship and the school’s first-ever Super Regional berth. SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: The Salukis return four starters and 13 letterman from last year’s 34-23 team. Southern Illinois finished fifth in the Missouri Valley with a 12-12 conference mark. SIU returns catcher Mark Kelly, who hit .375 with 46 runs-batted-in last season. The Salukis will start righty Andrew Dunn against the Chanticleers Friday afternoon. Dunn was 2-6 with a 5.40 earned-run average and 18 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched. SERIES VS. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Coastal Carolina and Southern Illinois will meet for the first time on Friday... This also will be the first team Coastal Carolina has faced from the Missouri Valley Conference, although the Chants will face Creighton twice later on this season... Pitching coach Drew Thomas was a graduate of Missouri Valley Conference member Illinois State... Coastal Carolina has faced Southern Illinois-Edwardsville twice, winning two games in 1977. SCOUTING KENTUCKY: The Wildcats finished 44-19 last season and advanced to the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional last season. Kentucky returns six starters and 18 letterwinners to this year’s squad, including third baseman Chris McClendon, who hit .346 with three home runs and 33 RBI’s last season. The Wildcats are unsure of a starting pitcher for Saturday’s game, but will start lefty Chris Rusin on Sunday. Rusin was a First Team All-SEC pitcher last season, going 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA. SERIES VS. KENTUCKY: The Chanticleers and Wildcats will play for the fourth time in the series history on Saturday. Coastal Carolina holds a 2-1 series advantage, sweeping a two-game series in 1998 and falling to UK 5-1 in 1991. Coastal Carolina faces fellow Southeastern Conference member Tennessee twice later on this season. Coastal Carolina is 10-19 all-time against the SEC, which includes a 13-10 win over Alabama in the 2008 NCAA Conway Regional. SCOUTING JAMES MADISON: The Dukes are coming off a 39-19 season in 2008 that saw JMU advance to the NCAA Raleigh Regional. James Madison returns six starters and 20 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including catcher Alex Foltz, who hit .355 with seven home runs and 38 RBI’s last season. The Dukes will start righthanded pitcher Turner Phelps against Coastal Carolina. Phelps was a perfect 8-0 with a 3.87 ERA last season. SERIES VS. JAMES MADISON: The Chanticleers hold a slim 5-4 series advantage on James Madison. The last time the two teams faced was in 2005, with the Chanticleers coming out on top 5-4 on an RBI single in the ninth from Dock Doyle. Coastal Carolina also will face Colonial Athletic Association member UNC Wilmington later on in the year. FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION OF THE CARAVELLE RESORT INVITATIONAL ON THE WEB: All 10 games of the Caravelle Resort Invitational will have live stats on www.GoCCUSports.com. Click on the blue G on the baseball schedule for the tournament website, which also has live audio links for Coastal Carolina games as well as information on all five teams. TWO GAMES TO BE VIDEO STREAMED THIS WEEKEND: The Coastal Carolina games against Kentucky and James Madison Sunday, Feb. 22 will be video streamed on THE EDGE at www.BigSouthSports.com The games cost $4.95 apiece or $34.95 for the whole season. WEATHER FORECAST: Friday: Sunny, High of 49. Saturday: Partly cloudy, High of 55. Sunday: Mostly Sunny, High of 46. SEASON OPENER HISTORY: Coastal Carolina is 21-12 all-time in season openers, dating back to the 1976 season. Last season, the Chanticleers defeated Maryland 10-4 in the season opener, as Coastal has now won nine of its last 10 lidlifters. In that game against the Terps, David Sappelt hit a grand slam, while Dock Doyle had three RBI’s. COASTAL IN THE POLLS: Coastal Carolina is ranked in several preseason polls, the highest being 22nd in the NCBWA poll. Coastal Carolina is 24th in the ESPN/USA Today poll, 25th in the Ping! Baseball poll, 28th in the Collegiate Baseball poll and 35th in the Perfect Game Crosscheckers Poll. DRAFT DODGERS: Coastal has four players on its roster that were taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Redshirt junior Austin Fleet (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) was taken in the 2006 draft by the Atlanta Braves. Junior Jim Birmingham (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook (Penn)) was taken by the Nationals in the 25th round in 2006. Freshman Anthony Meo (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) was selected in the 43rd round by the Washington Nationals, while classmate Dan Bowman (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) was selected in the 48th round by the Texas Rangers. WHO’S BACK: Coastal returns six position starters and nine pitchers from last year’s 50-14 team that advance to the Super Regional. Three of the four infielders return in senior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll), classmate Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and sophomore Scott Woodward (Markle, Ind./Norwell). Redshirt junior Chance Gilmore (Surfside Beach, S.C./Virginia) returns to play left field, while junior Adam Rice (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Elgin C.C.) can play in the infield, the outfield or at designated hitter. Sophomore Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) started at second base last season, but will open 2009 in center field. The Chanticleers also return the front end of their pitching staff in junior Nick McCully (Lakeland, Fla./Santa Fe Catholic), redshirt junior Austin Fleet (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe), senior Bobby Gagg (Hamburg, N.J./Wallkill) and sophomore Cody Wheeler (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania). TOUGH SCHEDULE FACES CHANTS: Coastal Carolina will play four games against teams ranked in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top-30 along with nine games against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) this season. Coastal will host Kentucky for two games in the Caravelle Resort Invitational. Kentucky is ranked as high as 19th in the preseason polls. Coastal Carolina then faces North Carolina, who is ranked first in the NCBWA poll. NEWCOMERS DOT COASTAL ROSTER: Coastal has 11 newcomers on the roster, including nine true freshman. Junior Caleb Cuevas (Fletcher, N.C./Louisburg J.C.) will be on the Chanticleer pitching staff, while sophomore Tommy La Stella (Closter, N.J./St. John’s) will have to sit out the 2009 season due to the NCAA’s new transfer rule. COASTAL TO HOST THREE IN-SEASON TOURNAMENTS: The Caravelle Resort Invitational is the first of three straight tournaments the Chanticleers will be hosting. Coastal Carolina welcomes in Tennessee, Florida International, West Virginia and Brown for the Baseball at the Beach Tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at BB&T Coastal Field. The Chants then host the Caravelle Resort Classic March 6-8, as Albany, Stony Brook, Creighton and IPFW will come to Conway. PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS HIGHLIGHT EARLY HONOREES: Coastal had three players named to at least one Preseason All-America list before the 2009 season. Senior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) was named to the Wallace Award Watch List as well as earning Second Team All-Ping! Baseball and Third Team Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America honors. Junior Nick McCully (Lakeland, Fla./Santa Fe Catholic) was named an Honorable Mention Preseason All-American by College Baseball Insider. Sophomore Scott Woodward (Markle, Ind./Norwell) was named to the First Team by Ping! Baseball, the Second Team by College Baseball Insider and Recruiting Closer and Third Team by Louisville Slugger. He also was named to the Wallace Award and Golden Spikes Award Watch Lists. GAGG GRANTED WAIVER; ELIGIBLE FOR 2009 SEASON: Senior pitcher Bobby Gagg (Hamburg, N.J./Wallkill) has been ruled eligible by the Big South Conference Feb. 11. Gagg received an absence waiver from the Big South’s Compliance Committee, allowing him to pitch for the Chanticleers in 2009. Gagg was participating in team practice when it started Feb. 1. The Hamburg, N.J., native carries a 22-6 overall record in three years with the Chanticleers. He has a 2.90 earned-run average and 187 strikeouts in 273.1 innings pitched. McCULLY NAMED BIG SOUTH PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Junior Nick McCully (Lakeland, Fla./Santa Fe Catholic) was named the Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year Jan. 28. McCully received six first-place votes and 14 points in the League’s preseason voting, finishing ahead of Liberty’s Dustin Umberger (nine points, two first-place votes). McCully led the Big South in wins last season, going 10-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 24 appearances and 89.1 innings for the Chanticleers. He struck out 72 batters compared to 27 walks in 2008, and held opponents to a .245 batting average. He also had three saves on the year. CHANTS PLAY IN FIRST-EVER SUPER REGIONAL: Coastal Carolina advanced to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional in 2008. The Chants faced second-seeded North Carolina in the NCAA Cary Super Regional at the USA Baseball National Training Center. Although the Chants fell 2-0 to the Tar Heels, Tyler Bortnick and Dock Doyle had four hits apiece, while David Sappelt had three runs-batted-in in two games. Austin Fleet pitched three scoreless innings in Game Two. The Super Regional appearance also was the first by a Big South team in the conference’s history. COASTAL CAROLINA WINS 2008 NCAA CONWAY REGIONAL: Coastal Carolina won its first ever regional, defeating Columbia 11-2, Alabama 13-10 and East Carolina 24-11 in the NCAA Conway Regional at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The Chanticleers hit .360 in three games and belted eight home runs in the Regional. Junior David Anderson and senior Tommy Baldridge were named Co-Most Valuable Players following the East Carolina game. Baldridge was 6-for-14 on the weekend and had a three-run home run that broke a 10-10 tie against Alabama, giving the Chants a 13-10 win. Anderson had seven hits, three home runs and a win on the mound. He belted two home runs in the win over East Carolina and had eight RBIs in the three games. Baldridge and Anderson were joined by freshman Scott Woodward, junior David Sappelt, junior Dock Doyle and sophomore Nick McCully on the All-Tournament Team. POSTSEASON HONORS FOR CHANTS IN 2008: Dock Doyle was named a Second Team Lousiville Slugger All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Doyle hit .370 with 16 home runs and 72 RBIs for the Chants. He also threw out 13 runners trying to steal and had seven pickoffs. Freshman Scott Woodward earned Freshman All-American honors by Rivals.com, the NCBWA, Louisville Slugger, Ping! Baseball, and Baseball America. Woodward hit .364 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs and stole a Big South-leading 42 bases. Doyle and Woodward were joined on the ABCA All-Region Second Team by David Sappelt. Sappelt hit .349 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 64 games played. FIVE CHANTS FEEL A DRAFT: Coastal Carolina had five players selected in the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including two players chosen in the fifth round. Junior Dock Doyle and classmate Pete Andrelczyk were selected by the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins, respectively. Junior David Sappelt was picked in the ninth round by the Cincinnati Reds. Senior Tommy Baldridge was selected by the New York Yankees in the 33rd round, with junior Jeff Richard picked by the Atlanta Braves in the 38th round. Coastal Carolina had 12 players selected in the draft the past two seasons. CHANTS WIN NINTH BIG SOUTH TOURNAMENT TITLE: Coastal Carolina won its ninth Big South Tournament by defeating Liberty 9-2 in the second championship game May 24. Junior Tyler Bortnick was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after going 9-of-18 at the plate and belting two home runs. Bortnick was joined on the All-Tournament Team by junior David Sappelt, senior Tommy Baldridge, senior Joey Haug and junior Dock Doyle. Coastal Carolina opened the tournament by defeating UNC Asheville 20-4. The Chants won close games against VMI 3-1 and Winthrop 8-6 the next two days. Coastal Carolina fell to Liberty in the first championship game 13-1, before rebounding to defeat the Flames 9-2. COASTAL CAROLINA WINS 11TH BIG SOUTH REGULAR-SEASON TITLE: For the 11th time in school history, Coastal Carolina won the Big South Conference regular-season title. The Chanticleers wrapped up the outright title with its 10-4 win over Radford May 16. Coastal Carolina has won the crown five of the last 10 years. The Chants won all seven Big South series in 2008, marking the third time in the last four years the Chants have accomplished that feat. COASTAL CAROLINA EARNS DAILY DOUBLE: Coastal Carolina won both the Big South regular-season and tournament titles for the second straight season and the fifth time in school history. Coastal Carolina also did the trick in 1991, 1992 and 2002. CONWAY REGIONAL SETS ATTENDANCE MARKS: The single-game attendance record at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field was broken four times in the NCAA Conway Regional. The new mark is now 2,320, set during the Coastal Carolina-East Carolina game June 1. A total of 11,124 fans packed the stands for the six games. ALL-BIG SOUTH TEAMS FILLED WITH CHANTS: Coastal Carolina earned the Big South Player, Freshman and Coach of the Year and had 11 players on the All-Big South First and Second Teams.. Junior Dock Doyle was named the Big South Player of the Year and Scott Woodward was the Big South Freshman of the Year. Head Coach Gary Gilmore earned Big South Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time in his career. Doyle and Woodward were joined by Tommy Baldridge (outfield), David Sappelt (outfield), Bobby Gagg (starting pitcher), Joey Haug (starting pitcher) and Pete Andrelczyk (relief pitcher) on the first team, while David Anderson (first base), Nick McCully (starting pitcher), Tyler Bortnick (shortstop) and Adam Rice (outfield) were second-team selections. UP NEXT: Coastal Carolina heads to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face top-ranked North Carolina Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m., in newly renovated Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium.