Chanticleers Mashed Their Way to Title – From the Bird’s Nest
It was a...well...interesting season for Coastal Carolina.
The overwhelming favorite to win the Sun Belt title, the Chanticleers started strong and were ranked as high as #12 in the country. Then the wheels came off, particularly with the pitching staff.
The Chants wound up with a team ERA well over 5. And, they limped to the finish line with a 15-13 conference record, barely avoiding an opening round game.
But that addage of "you hit your way through a tournament" certainly held true for Gary Gilmore's group.
After losing its first game, Coastal Carolina simply slugged their way to a championship. The Chanticleers set a half dozen records during their march to the NCAA Tournament.
How about these numbers?
Home Runs: 18
Batting Average: .385
Most runs in one game: 26
Most home runs in a game: 5 (twice)
Now, it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out they also set records for total bases and slugging percentage.
And they needed all of it.
The Chanticleers won despite giving up 9.2 runs per game. They gave up 51 runs. Their team ERA was 6.01. They committed eleven errors, resulting in 14 unearned runs.
And yet, they wouldn't have won the title without a good pitching performance when they needed it.
They trailed Georgia Southern in the title game 6-0. Everyone knew Coastal would start hitting and make a comeback. But that wouldn't have been enough without the performance out of the bullpen by Scott Kobos, who threw four shutout innings, allowing Coastal to eventually take a 9-7 win.
The seven runs were the second fewest that CCU gave up in a single game.
Coastal will represent the Sun Belt in the NCAA tournament. They are headed to Atlanta where they will take on Auburn in their first round matchup.
If Coastal can get a couple of good pitching performances, they have a chance.
Otherwise, they'll have to mash...again.