CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - There’s always something special about the sound of a bat hitting a ball on opening day.
“It’s opening day! You don’t know what this team will be like, you don’t know who’s going to stand out, who’s going to step up,” said Coastal Carolina University Athletic Director Matt Hogue.
But Hogue said he does know one thing.
“We’re happy that our baseball athletes and our spring athletes will have a chance now to complete a full season, they were really on the cusp when the pandemic started last spring,” he said.
Coastal Carolina kicked off the 2021 season Saturday with a game against Duke at Spring Brooks Stadium.
The new year also comes with pandemic precautions for fans, such as spaced-out seating, and a capacity of 1,000 people. Tickets are also being sold in pods, and there are even markings on the grass berm so people know they’re keeping their distance. Masks are also required at Coastal home games this season.
On the diamond, however, Hogue also says the Chanticleers are ready to take on the season.
“We start out the season wanting to go to Omaha. That’s our clear-cut goal every year and this one’s no different,” said Hogue.
Coastal freshman Connor Romanosky said after watching their football team go nearly all the way this fall, he’s excited to hopefully watch the baseball team do the same.
Especially on the five-year anniversary of the program winning its first national championship.
“Hopefully we could make another run like 2016,” he said.
For longtime fan Edward Smerdell, he said he’s just happy to see the Chants play ball.
“I skipped going to football and basketball because of COVID,” he said. “But I got my first shot on Friday so I figure it’s safer now.”
Coastal came up short in Saturday’s opener against the Blue Devils but will resume the series with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at noon. Both games will be televised on ESPN+.
After the Duke series, the Chants will travel to Winston-Salem to play another ACC foe in Wake Forest.