#31 Coastal Carolina Baseball 2016 Preview

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #1 Big South
 Coastal Carolina Logo
Last season Coastal Carolina started what they hope is another long NCAA Tournament appearance streak. The Chanticleers had appeared in seven straight NCAA Tournaments from 2007 to 2013. They reached the Super Regional round twice during that span. The 2014 season was forgettable, but veteran coach Gary Gilmore put things back together for 2015 and CCU went 39-20 overall and 17-7 in Big South action. They only managed to beat Texas Southern during the tournament, but that was a step in building this program to bigger and better things to come in the future. And that future starts now.
2015: 39-20, 17-7
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Gary Gilmore
Field Players:
In terms of hits, Coastal Carolina returns their top six batters from 2015, and that’s not even counting David Parrett who belted ten homeruns last season. All that is back from an offense that ranked 22nd in the nation by scoring 405 runs on the season. The Chanticleers can hurt you in so many ways offensively. They are very patient at the plate and drew more walks than any other team in the Big South. Players like Anthony Marks, who batted a team high .343, Tyler Chadwick and Connor Owings just have a knack for getting on base. And then Marks, Owings and Michael Paez are always major threats to steal. Coach Gilmore does not mind sacrificing and generating runs, but he can also let the power hitters do their thing. Parrett is the team’s top returning homerun hitter, but Owings and G.K. Young hit nine each last season and Zach Remillard and Tyler Chadwick are no strangers to the long ball either.
Coastal Carolina relied on a bevy of pitchers last season with six players throwing between 54 and 67 innings. Four of them are back, but that does not include Austin Kerr, who was arguably the most effective of the bunch. Alex Cunningham was certainly effective too though, going 6-0 with a 2.56 ERA in 11 appearances and ten starts. None of the other returning top six pitchers started more than four games last year, but Bobby Holmes, Andrew Beckwith and Mike Morrison are all certainly capable of starting. Holmes was sometimes used in the closer role, as was Morrison. Morrison has some great stuff, especially when he only needs to throw an inning or two.
Who to Watch:
A couple other pitchers to watch are sophomore Zack Hopeck and incoming freshman Jason Bilous. Hopeck was not asked to do much during his nine starts, but showed some promise. He needs to keep the ball down after allowing five homeruns in 44.0 innings, but he is a candidate to step into a weekend starting role. Bilous is one of the top pitching recruits heading to the college ranks and he could have an immediate impact. There is enough talent returning that Bilous does not need to do all that much, but he may be too talented to keep on the sidelines.
Final Projection:
Coastal Carolina should be able to come out of the gates fast since their lineup will be very similar to what it was last year. This team grew up together over the last couple of seasons and is now ready to win the Big South and perhaps make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. As usual, the Chanticleers will be tested in nonconference play during a variety of home tournaments, highlighted by contests against Virginia and Mississippi. A series at Georgia Tech right in the middle of Big South play will also be interesting. But the Big South is no pushover by any means and Coastal Carolina must travel to Radford this year.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Anthony Marks, OF, 242
Hits: Anthony Marks, OF, 83
Home Runs: David Parrett, C/OF, 10
RBIs: G.K. Young, 1B/C, 49
Runs: Anthony Marks, OF, 58; Michael Paez, IF, 58
Stolen Bases: Michael Paez, IF, 19
Wins: Andrew Beckwith, P, 6; Alex Cunningham, P, 6
Innings Pitched: Andrew Beckwith, P, 66.1
Strikeouts: Mike Morrison, P, 72
Saves: Bobby Holmes, P, 4
Madness 2016 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#32 Jason Bilous