COASTAL CAROLINA SET TO TRAVEL TO JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSITY TOURNAMENT: The Chanticleers next travel to the Jacksonville University Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. this weekend. The Chants will play five games against three teams beginning Friday at 1:15p.m. against Marist, and concluding with a 11:45 a.m. tilt on Sunday with the host squad, Jacksonville.
CHANTICLEERS DROPS SQUEAKER TO APPALACHIAN ST.: After being outscored 16-1 in losses to Virginia Tech and Maine to start off this past weekends Kickin’ Chicken Classic, the Chants looked to have turned things around against Appalachian State on Saturday night. However, a double play in the bottom of the seventh resulted in another Chanticleer defeat. Coastal Carolina entered the seventh down 4-1, but scored two runs in the inning to cut the Mountaineer lead to 4-3. With no outs and the tying run on third and the winning run on second, Michelle Evans hit a line drive to the third baseman, who made the diving catch and doubled off Mecaela Ballard at third base to effectively end the contest, 4-3.
BATS COME ALIVE IN LOSS TO WESTERN CAROLINA: The Chaticleer bats came alive in the 10-9 loss to Western Carolina on Sunday, as Coastal Carolina pounded out nine runs and 14 hits. Mecaela Ballard set new career bests in scoring three runs and getting three hits, including the first triple of her career. Senior Kelsey Riffel matched a career high in hits with three, while freshman Sarah Maples drove in three runs.
FREDERICK NEARS 100 PERCENT: Junior pitcher Ashley Frederick, who missed the Lipton Invitational due to offseason non-throwing surgery, made her season debut in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic. Pitching in relief in game one of the Classic against Virginia Tech, she threw two innings and allowed one run while striking out a batter. She bounced back after a rough outing against Maine in Sunday’s game against Western Carolina, throwing four innings and allowing two earned runs while striking out seven Catamounts.
SCOUTING THIS WEEKEND’S OPPONENTS: The Jacksonville Dolphins will enter the tournament with an overall record of 3-9. In their most recent action, the Dolphins were downed by UCF, 5-3. In terms of common opponents, Jacksonville was defeated by the Florida Gators 11-0 on Feb. 11. Coastal Carolina will be the second Big South school Jacksonville faces this season, as they split a two-game series with the Presbyterian Blue Hose. Coastal Carolina trails the all-time series, 3-1 after facing Jacksonville three times last season, going 1-2. Both Marist and Vermont will be playing their first games of the season in the tournament. Friday’s meeting against Marist will be the first-ever between the two squads, while the all-time series against the Catamounts is knotted at 1-1.
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 on 2/15. Third baseman Michelle Evans had the only RBI in the teams first three contests.
EDWARDS RIGHTS THE SHIP, THROWS GEM AGAINST FAU 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 on 2/15. 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 2/15, 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 AGAINST FAU: 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.
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.