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  • Ian Livingston Brooking

For Coastal baseball, it's Omaha or bust

The Coastal Carolina baseball is preparing to make another run at Omaha for the 2019 baseball season. The Chanticleers come into the 2019 season ranked 21st in the nation by D1Baseball.

Coastal Carolina went 43-19 last season, winning the Sun Belt Conference tournament and hosting the 2018 Conway Regional. Despite a strong 16-1 win over LIU-Brooklyn in the opening game of the regional, the Chants fell to Washington 11-6 before being eliminated by Connecticut 6-5 on Sunday, Jun. 3.

Coastal returns 21 players from the 2018 team and for guys like senior pitcher Matt Eardensohn, there is only one goal in mind for this team – Omaha.

“We have a lot of key guys returning at a lot of key positions,” said Eardensohn. “I think that if we come together as a team like how we did towards the end of the season last year, the sky is the limit for us.”

Eardensohn appeared in 20 games last season, going 7-0 on the mound and throwing a 2.18 ERA. Eardensohn believes that he still has a lot left to give to this team and to the members of Teal Nation.

“I want to leave a legacy,” said Eardensohn. “I want to be remembered as one of the hardest workers and a guy that provided for his team when they needed him.”

While the Chanticleers did return almost two dozen players, the Chanticleers did something in the offseason that has never been done in program history. For the first time ever, Coastal Carolina had a ranked recruiting class. According to Baseball America, Coastal Carolina has the 25th best recruiting class in the nation.

The class is highlighted by signees Nick Lucky, who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox in June, and Garrett McDaniels, who was selected by in the 30th round by the Miami Marlins. Jacob Maton was also selected in the 2018 MLB Draft in the 38th round by the Seattle Mariners.

The Chanticleers' class is comprised up of 15 newcomers, including 12 freshmen and three junior college transfers.

McDaniels, who was rated as the number one left-handed pitcher and the number one overall prospect in the class of 2018 in the state of South Carolina by Rawlings/Perfect Game, talked about why he came to Coastal Carolina and what he hopes to bring to the team.

“I committed here going into my sophomore year. I fell in love with the coaching staff and it was close to home,” said McDaniels. “I hope to be another voice and be a leader on this team. I want to better myself and do what I can to help the team win.”

The Chanticleers have one of, if not, the toughest schedules in college baseball this season. The Chants take on ten teams that featured in the 2018 NCAA Baseball Tournament. Three of those teams – North Carolina, Oregon State and Washington - appeared in the College World Series, with Oregon State winning the national championship over Arkansas.

The Chanticleers will travel to Oregon State, a team that has 120-22-1 at home in the last five seasons.

Head Coach Gary Gilmore, who enters his 24th season as the head coach for the Chanticleers, talked about the team’s strength of schedule and how that prepares the team ahead of the postseason.

“If you look back over the years, we have [scheduled difficult opponents] on many occasions,” said Gilmore. “As we have grown as a program, we have seen more teams have become willing to play us. We have one of the best venues in college baseball to play host to for opposing teams. When we schedule these teams and play them, we are looking at getting our RPI but on the flipside, we have teams coming in here to get their RPI up also.”

One of the early season tournaments that Coastal Carolina is a part of is the Seattle Showcase, featuring Washington, Oregon State and San Diego. The Coastal Carolina Alumni Association has been planning an event for Coastal alum to gather at T-Mobile Park in Seattle to cheer on the Chanticleers.

Gilmore talked about the support that the Chanticleers get both at Brooks Stadium and on the road.

“We have great fans,” said Gilmore. “The fact that we have those insanely loyal fans that are willing to travel to that part of the country is just so cool.”

The Chanticleers open up the 2019 season with the Brittain Resorts Invitational from Feb. 15-17 at Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C. The opening-weekend tournament will consist of host Coastal Carolina, Maryland, VCU, and Campbell.

The 2019 baseball schedule includes three home tournaments, five Sun Belt Conference home weekend series and a total of 29 home games at Springs Brooks Stadium this season. Some of the 2019 non-conference opponents include NC State, Clemson, Michigan State and College of Charleston.

Season tickets for all home baseball games at Springs Brooks Stadium are on sale now. Season ticket prices start at a low cost of $250 for the entire home season.

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