CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Eliminated by Auburn in the Atlanta Regional in 2019, the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers will have a completely new philosophy on the base paths in 2020.
CCU hopes a younger pitching staff plus more RBIs will equal more success this season.
“We’re just going to have to do things a little differently,” head coach Gary Gilmore told the media Friday. “And we’ve got to be successful at it! If we can’t, it’s going to be a struggle.”
The Chanticleers face the challenge of replacing 19 players form the 2019 squad, which ranked fifth in the NCAA with 91 home runs hit.
“I think we’ve really gotten back to being able to bunt the ball and play small ball, attacking that part of the game," said senior shortstop Scott McKeon.
CCU will need to get creative offensively without Junior All-American Parker Chavers, who announced Friday he’ll miss a majority of the season following an off-season surgery.
“It’s frustrating...it’s pretty easy to ask why now? Why me?' Chavers said. "But I think the man upstairs has a plan. And I’ve kind of put my energy and focus into rehab.”
Chavers said he’s already ahead of schedule for rehab and is targeting a late April or early May return date.
Gilmore clarified Chavers’ return would come only in a designated hitter capacity.
Hoping to avoid a mid-season slump that tormented the 2019 Chants, players and coaches alike harped on the importance of a fast start and finish.
“The first two weeks are going to be very very hard for us," Gilmore said.
“It’s never an expectation that we’re going to win the Sun Belt tourney," said redshirt senior pitcher Scott Kobos. "We want to be a lock before the tourney even starts and winning the tournament will be icing on the cake.”
CCU opens the season at Spring Brooks Stadium in Conway on Feb. 14 versus UNC-Grensboro.