COASTAL CAROLINA BEGINS HOME SCHEDULE WITH KICKIN’ CHICKEN CLASSIC: The Chanticleers will open their 2009 home slate with the Kickin’ Chicken Classic on Friday. Five teams will participate in the second year of the tournament. The tournament begins Friday at 11:30 a.m. and will conclude on Sunday at 4:30. In all, 11 games will be played.
AFTER ROCKY START, CHANTS DEFEAT FLORIDA ATLANTIC: It was a rocky start to the season for the Chants to say the least. After giving up 30 runs in 15 innings to begin the season, Coastal Carolina turned things around in their final game of the Lipton Invitational, and defeated the Owls 3-2. Third baseman Michelle Evans had the only RBI in the teams first three contests.
EDWARDS RIGHTS THE SHIP, THROWS GEM AGAINST FLORIDA ATLANTIC IN WIN: After allowing 20 runs in her first 7.2 innings in a Chanticleer uniform, sophomore transfer Katelin Edwards turned things around against Florida Atlantic. The Greer, S.C. native threw a complete game four-hitter, and retired the first 11 batters she faced in order to earn the victory.
TORNATORE DOUBLES THE FUN: Junior outfielder Alyssa Tornatore had the best offensive performance of her career on Sunday, smashing a pair of doubles and driving in a pair of runs off Florida Atlantic pitcher Rose Gressley. The last time Tornatore had a double was on Mar. 2 of last season. Her doubles come in bunches as she had a pair of doubles against Birmingham Southern.
HITTERS FIND THEIR STROKES VS. FLORIDA ATLANTIC: In the first three contests of the season, the Chants totaled only eight hits. Against Florida Atlantic, the Coastal Carolina bats came alive, as the squad pounded out eight hits, (six singles, and a pair of doubles). Three batters had two hits in the contest, including junior Mecaela Ballard, freshman Sarah Maples, sophomore Michelle Evans, and Tornatore.
McCRANIE SHUTS DOWN NO. 1 FLORIDA GATORS: The Florida Gators certainly proved they were the No. 1 team in the nation against the Chants, scoring eight runs in the first two innings. However, freshman Ivy McCranie entered the game with no one out in the second, and was literally perfect for the final three innings of the five-inning contest. The freshman from Berrien, Ga. didn’t allow a runner to reach base, and struck out three Gators in one of the few bright spots on the contest against the powerhouse Gators.
FREDERICK LOOKS TO MAKE SEASON DEBUT AT KICKIN’ CHICKEN: Junior pitcher Ashley Frederick, who missed the Lipton Invitational due to offseason non throwing surgery, could make her season debut this weekend in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic.
SCOUTING THIS WEEKEND’S OPPONENTS: Appalachian St. enters this weekend’s Kickin’ Chicken Classic with an overall record of 1-3. Like the Chants, the Mountaineers began their season this past weekend going 1-3, defeating Purdue 3-2 in the Florida State Sunshine Classic. Coastal Carolina leads the all-time series 6-1. The Maine Bears will enter the tournament with a 1-4 overall record with their win coming against the Campbell Camels 10-2. The 9 a.m. game on Sunday will be a rematch of the Bears vs. the Hokies of Virginia Tech, a game that the Hokies won 4-1 on Feb. 6. This will be the first all-time meeting between the Chants and the Bears. Virginia Tech will enter with an overall record of 2-7 after beginning the season ranked No. 20 in the country. The Hokies got off to a 2-0 start on the season with defeats of Maine (4-1) and Troy (1-0), but have lost their last seven contests, with only two of the five going reaching seven innings. Western Carolina enters the weekend with a 1-4 record after dropping its first four games of the season, but earned their first win on Feb. 15 in a 2-0 win over North Florida in the UCF Tournament. This will be the first all-time meeting between the Chants and the Catamounts.
OLD FACES, NEW PLACES: Six starters return from last years team, but only three, senior Brittany Birnbaum, junior center fielder Alyssa Tornatore and junior left fielder Mecaela Ballard will open up 2009 in the same position as 2008. Sophomore Ashley Pisone moves from catcher to right field, senior Kelsey Riffel goes from right field to second base, and sophomore Michelle Evans moves from designated player to third base.
CHANTICLEER PITCHERS TO MAKE DEBUTS: Coastal Carolina will enter this season with a pair of young pitchers making their Chanticleer debuts in sophomore transfer Katelin Edwards and freshman Ivy McCranie. Edwards, a transfer from Newberry College, went 10-15 with a 2.32 ERA for the Indians in 2008. McCranie was a First Team All-State selection in Georgia last season for Berrien High School.
FRESHMAN TO SEE TIME RIGHT OFF THE BAT: Along with McCranie, two other freshman will be in the everyday line-up this season in true freshman Sarah Maples and redshirt freshman Morgan Dodd. Maples, a three-time All-Region honoree for Deer Park High School in Pasadena, Texas will hold down the shortstop position, while Dodd who redshirted last season, could see extensive time behind the plate as well as third base. Another true freshman, Stacy Snellings, could also see action at either first base or designated player.
DANNELLY IN 22nd AND FINAL SEASON: Head Coach Jess Dannelly enters his 22nd and final season with 654 career victories. After announcing his retirement this past December, he will look to expand on his already impressive resume that includes seven Big South Conference Coach of the Year Awards, six Big South Regular Season titles, five Big South Tournament Championships, and four NCAA Regional appearances. Dannelly will enter his final year ranked 29th among active NCAA softball coaches in victories and 43rd in overall career victories.
FREDERICK EARNS PRESEASON HONORS: Frederick returns for her junior season after leading the Chanticleers in every major pitching category last year. Even after missing nearly half the season due to injury, the then-sophomore compiled a 2.55 ERA and a 9-14 overall record and 15 complete games. In 148 innings, she struck out 97 batters and held opposing hitters to a .258 batting average.
TOP COMPETITION ON 2009 SCHEDULE: Head Coach Jess Dannelly has always scheduled tog competition in his tenure at Coastal Carolina, with this year being no exception. This seasons schedule is highlighted by four teams that finished up last season ranked in the 2008 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 Final Poll in Florida (No. 3) and Virginia Tech (No. 8), both of whom made it to the College World Series a year ago. Missouri (No. 19) and North Carolina (No. 20) were also consistently ranked in the top 25 all season.
MEGAN MATTHEWS BUNING PROMOTED TO ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH: Matthews Buning, a former All-American pitcher during her days at South Carolina, joined Dannelly’s staff last season after a three-year stint as an assistant at Florida State. In her first season as an assistant with the Chanticleers, Matthews Buning worked primarily with the pitchers, inheriting a young pitching staff with only one experienced returnee. Matthews Buning will continue to work as pitching and outfield coach for the Chants, and assume a more significant role in game preparation, in-game management, and recruiting.
ALL-TIME ACC HOME RUN LEADER JEN CHAMBERLIN JOINS STAFF AS ASSISTANT COACH: The Chants welcome assistant coach Jen Chamberlin to the squad this season. Chamberlin was a standout player for the N.C. State Wolfpack, starting all four seasons. She was a three-time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All-Conference squad honoree, and was a 2007 All-Region performer. The San Leandro, California native wrapped up her career with a .304 batting average, 225 hits, 49 home runs and 155 RBI. Chamberlin also brings professional experience to the table, as she played the 2007 season for the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Champion Washington Glory. As a member of the Glory, she was teammates with 2008 Olympian and 2007 USA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year Monica Abbott. Chamberlin’s responsibilities will lie in working with the hitters and infielders.
COASTAL CAROLINA PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH: The Coastal Carolina softball team has been selected to finish fourth in the 2009 Big South Preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Winthrop finished ahead of Radford, who received 41 points. In the third spot was last season’s Big South Tournament runner-up Liberty, who landed 33 points. Coastal Carolina finished fourth with 25 points, followed by Big South newcomer Gardner-Webb with 23 points and Charleston Southern with 13 points. Presbyterian, who is eligible for the regular-season championship but not the tournament, rounded out the poll with 12 points.
COASTAL CAROLINA TO WELCOME PAIR IN 2010: The Coastal Carolina softball team has signed Olivia Piccirillo (Seneca, S.C./Seneca) and Megan Johnson (Pensacola, Fla./Tate) to a National Letter-of-Intent. Piccirillo has been an All Region catcher the past two seasons for Seneca. Last season, she led the Bobcats in runs scored with 24 and had a .406 batting average. Piccirillo also excelled behind the plate, throwing out 10 baserunners and picking off another seven behind the dish. Johnson has been a four-year letterwinner for Tate High School, earning All-Area honors her junior year. The pitcher/second baseman has also excelled on a club level with Georgia Elite.
I DON’T CARE WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU’RE FROM...: Of the 18 players on this season’s roster, only two are from the state of South Carolina. Overall, this years Chants come from 11 different states. The great state of Texas is home to a team-high three Chants, while two Chanticleers hail from California, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, respectively.