CCU’s non-conference slate among toughest in country

ccubase-32catcherslideThe Coastal Carolina baseball program will open its much-anticipated, state-of-the-art Springs Brooks Stadium on Feb. 13 as the Chanticleers host Old Dominion, a team that played in a 2014 NCAA Regional.

Prior to the Chanticleers-Monarchs 4 pm first pitch, Maryland, which was a win away from advancing to last year’s College World Series, will face Western Kentucky at 11 am.

Opening day is just a taste of the impressive schedule head coach Gary Gilmore has put together, which is representative of the program’s new venue. A total of 10 teams in this year’s preseason polls will play in Springs Brooks Stadium. Additionally, Coastal will go to nationally-ranked Florida State for a three-game series and four other teams coming to Coastal were in consideration for the preseason polls.

Three preseason polls have been released this season – Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and D1Baseball – and CCU opponents dot the prestigious lists from top to bottom. Those coming to Conway in the first seven weeks include 12 of the nation’s top 75 teams, including #5 South Carolina,  #6 North Carolina, #14 Maryland, #26 Georgia Tech, #28 Clemson, #30 Kent State, #31 Ball Stateand #40 Illinois. In addition, the following schools were listed on the Collegiate Baseball “others receiving votes” list: Florida International, Michigan, Winthrop and Bryant.

The 2015 season opens with the Caravelle Resort Classic. Coastal will be joined by 2014 NCAA teams Old Dominion and Maryland as well as Western Kentucky and Canisius.

The following weekend, as per usual, a NCAA Regional-type field will play in the annual Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach. Coastal will welcome Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Florida International and Albany.

Week three features the Chanticleer Classic with three guests – Kent State, Ball State and Illinois – being in the preseason top 40. Atlantic Coast Conference member West Virginia will round out the field.

Coastal’s final weekend tournament – the Coastal Carolina Invitational – will feature Michigan, Michigan State, UMBC, Akron and Toledo.

After the four weekend tournaments, Coastal will start its midweek games with the first three Tuesdays showcasing three of the top programs in the nation. Springs Brooks Stadium will host North Carolina on Mar. 10, Clemson on Mar. 17 and South Carolina on Mar. 24.

Coastal will host its first conference series from Mar. 27-29 when rival Winthrop comes to Conway.

Also of note, the Chanticleers will host #25 College of Charleston on April 14. Coastal will additionally take a late-season trip to #11/21 Florida State for a three-game series from May 1-3 prior to hosting #23/25 Liberty on May 8-10.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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