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Opponent Preview: Coastal Carolina (Part Deux)

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Meet the Chanticleers... again

NCAA Football: Coastal Carolina at South Carolina Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Coastal Carolina

Mascot: Prideful Medieval Roosters | School Location: Conway, SC | Conference: Sun Belt

2019 Record: 22-11-1 (8-4, 1st East) | 2018 RPI Rank: 29

2018 Record: 43-19 (23-7*, 1st East) | 2018 RPI Rank: 25

2017 Record: 37-19-1 (22-7-1, 1st East) | 2017 RPI Rank: 59

*2018 Sun Belt Tournament Champions


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field and Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Wednesday, April 10 @ 6:00pm

TV: ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh, GoPack All-Access

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

First, let’s take a look at what was said about Coastal from our 2019 Season Preview:

Coastal will be the first team on NC State’s 2019 schedule which should exceed their 2018 performance, which is pretty incredible when you look at what they did a year ago. This Chanticleers squad returns a lot of experience and production, led by SO OF Parker Chavers (.323/.435/.498, 15 2B, 7 HR, 9 SB), SR 1B/DH Zach Biermann (.302/.419/.561, 14 2B, 13 HR), JR 2B and Raleigh native Cory Wood (.296/.435/.390, 19 2B, 17 SB), and SR OF Kieton Rivers (.285/.380/.453, 15 2B, 5 HR, 10 SB). RS-JR C Kyle Skeels (.301/.382/.538, 7 2B, 5 HR) is also back to provide some experience and pop from the backstop. FR INF Nick Lucky, a 2018 14th round pick by the Red Sox, is a name to watch out for. On the mound, JR LHP Anthony Veneziano (7-1, 3.81 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .229 OBA) and SO RHP Zach McCambley (3-0, 3.14 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, .241 OBA) are back as members of the weekend rotation. SR RHP Matt Eardensohn (7-0, 6 SV, 2.18 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .188 OBA) and RS-JR LHP Jay Causey (2-2, 5 SV, 2.28 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .205 OBA) are back to bolster what should be a deep bullpen. RS-SR RHP Bobbly Holmes (Tommy John Surgery) and RS-JR LHP Austin Kitchen (knee) return after missing last year due to injury. Both were integral pieces of the Chanticleers bullpen over the last several years. A trio of highly-touted freshman arms should contribute immediately, too. LHP Garrett McDaneils should compete for a weekend rotation gig, while RHPs Jacob Maton and Rhett Daniels will add depth to the bullpen.

2019 Projected Record: 41-15 (23-7)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes

Go get some more info on CCU from our preview of the first meeting between these two schools back in February. And here’s the recap of that game, a 7-6 Wolfpack extra-innings victory.

Since these two teams last met, Coastal went on an 11-3-1 run, with the tie being a match-up in Seattle with #3 Oregon State; however, the Chanticleers are just 4-7 in their last 11 games, although only two of those games (and one of those losses) was against opponents outside of the RPI 100 (a one-run midweek road loss to UNC-Wilmington, RPI 207). Even though this team won’t finish with quite as impressive of a record as I projected before the season, they should finish strong and win another Sun Belt title.

This is a team that can swing the sticks. They’re a top 50 team nationally in almost every single offensive category, and a top 20 team in a bunch, including batting average, hits, runs, home runs, slugging percentage, hit-by-pitch, walks, and on-base percentage. Pitchers better bring their A-game versus this squad.

On the mound, though, this is a team that strikes out a lot of opposing hitters, but that’s about it. That’s not to say they’re pitching is bad or weak, but it certainly isn’t to the level of the offensive production that Coastal is putting out.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: RHP Nick Parker (FR)


Key Players:

Offense

CF Parker Chavers (SO) - .340 BA, .444 OBP, .612 SLG, 103 AB, 3 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 30 R, 27 RBI, 16 BB, 23 K, 8-8 SB. Chavers was the top returning hitter for this team from a year ago. After a bit of a cool spell, went 7-for-11 with 2 2B, 3B, HR, and 3 SB last weekend at South Alabama. The left-handed hitter is impressive. Was 1-for-4 with a BB, 2 R, and a SB last game vs State.

LF Cameron Pearcey (RS-JR) - .353 BA, .436 OBP, .479 SLG, 119 AB, 9 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 21 R, 16 RBI, 9 BB, 32 K, 16-18 SB. Pearcey is a HBP magnet, having been plunked ten times this year after getting plunked 19 times in 150 career plate appearances entering this season. Pearcey has some wheels on the bases, too. He’s an aggressive swinger, though. Went 1-for-6 last time against the Wolfpack.

C Klye Skeels (RS-JR) - .324 BA, .458 OBP, .586 SLG, 111 AB, 8 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 31 R, 33 RBI, 20 BB, 30 K, 2-3 SB. Skeels is a power-hitting catcher, with five of his home runs coming in the last eight games. He’s also very good defensively, having thrown out half of attempted base stealers (12-of-24) this year and allowing just six stolen bases all of last year. Was 0-for-4 with a HBP last time vs State.

RF Kieton Rivers (SR) - .362 BA, .479 OBP, .621 SLG, 116 AB, 9 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 35 R, 38 RBI, 20 BB, 35 K, 7-9 SB. Rivers is a solid, four-year player for the Chants. He led the team in sac bunts last year with 12. Has really upped his walk rate and power numbers this year turning him from a good-not-great player to a key piece of the offense. Was 1-for-3 with a SacB and a HBP in the February game with State.

2B Cory Wood (JR) - .305 BA, .452 OBP, .422 SLG, 128 AB, 10 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 34 R, 16 RBI, 34 BB, 22 K, 14-15 SB. Wood, the CCU leadoff hitter and a native of Raleigh (Sanderson HS), is in his third year as a starter. He’s not a huge home run threat, but he handles the bat extremely well and can cause havoc on the bases. Currently on a nine-game hitting streak. Went 2-for-6 with a 2B in the first game vs his hometown team.

SS Scott McKeon (JR) - .346 BA, .409 OBP, .485 SLG, 136 AB, 9 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 24 R, 21 RBI, 12 BB, 32 K, 4-4 SB. JUCO transfer from Millbrook HS in Raleigh by way of Brunswick CC. Has put together separate 14-game and 10-game hitting streaks this year. He’s not a big power hitter, but has the bat control and wheels to churn out doubles. He’s a testament to what can happen to a lightly-recruited player who works his ass off. Went 2-for-5 with a 2B and RBI against State in their first game.

RF/DH Jake Wright (RS-SO) - .361 BA, .509 OBP, .518 SLG, 83 AB, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 19 R, 24 RBI, 19 BB, 15 K, 0-0 SB. Transfer from South Carolina by way of Seminole State JUCO. Has a very good eye at the plate. Really struggled over the first part of the season, but then came on strong. The lefty has 10 multi-hit games this year, all coming in his last 17 games. Went 0-for-2 with a BB in the first meeting with State.

Pitching

LHP Nick Parker (FR) - 0-0, 5.19 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .262 OBA, 25.6 K%, 7.7 BB%, 17.1 IP, 17 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 6 BB, 20 K. Don’t let the ERA fool you; this kid is good. Parker appeared at the tail end of the first game with State, allowing a single and a stolen base to Vojtech Mensik before recording a strikeout. He’ll be making his third start, all midweek starts over the last three weeks. In his last outing, pitched excellently versus Illinois (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 6 K), although the team ended up losing 4-1.

RHP Matt Eardensohn (SR) - 4-0, 0 SV, 1.59 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .230 OBA, 26.2 K%, 5.7 BB%, 34.0 IP, 29 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 8 BB, 37 K. Eardensohn was CCU’s closer last year, but he’s transitioned to be more of the high-leverage guy this year; the arm they call on when they need non-save outs. He threw 1.1 innings against State last time, allowing two hits and hitting a batter, but not giving up a run.

LHP Trevor Damron (SO) - 1-0, 0 SV, 1.59 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .176 OBA, 31.1 K%, 13.3 BB%, 22.2 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 12 BB, 28 K. The sophomore from Ohio struggled a year ago as a true freshman giving up a ton of extra base hits and having some issues with walks, but has reigned in the control (although still not great) and is one of the Chants top bullpen arms now. Dude has great strikeout stuff.

LHP Dylan Gentry (SO) - 1-0, 0 SV, 1.08 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .145 OBA, 27.9 K%, 14.7 BB%, 16.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 10 BB, 19 K. Gentry did well as a not-oft used bullpen arm last year, but he’s really shining this year - aside from the walks. The walks, though, don’t always flare up, so they’re not as big of a problem as the BB% would lead you to believe.

RHP Alaska Abney (FR) - 1-3, 3 SV, 3.66 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .237 OBA, 23.3 K%, 12.2 BB%, 19.2 IP, 18 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 11 BB, 21 K. Garrett McDaniels was expected to be the top freshman arm for Coastal this year, but Abney - along with Parker - is making his case for that honor. He’s the only pitcher with a save on the staff this year, although he still ranks behind Eardensohn in the bullpen pecking order. He’s a sidearmer/submariner who sits in the high-80’s. That funky style can be tough to hit.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Not today, chief.


Prediction

This is a tough matchup, even at home. Coastal is throwing a talented lefty who’s just coming into form. State is countering with RS-SO RHP Dalton Feeney, but he’s facing a daunting lineup of capable and productive hitters.

It’s easily looking like another one-run game.

Outcome: Coastal’s bats come up with the timely hits while the Chanticleers use all their top bullpen arms to just outlast State, 6-5.