MYRTLE BEACH — Now a seasoned veteran and the recognized ace of the staff, junior Tyler Herb is being counted on to follow in the tradition of the front-line starters who have come before him in Coastal Carolina’s pitching-rich program.
So when he opened the season last Friday with a rather lackluster performance – at least by his standards – Chanticleers pitching coach Drew Thomas knew something wasn’t right. He addressed it earlier this week before practice, and the message seemed to resonate with the right-hander.
“It was a great meeting. It was life changing,” Herb said with a smile.
Admitting that his competitive fire had been lacking last week, Herb looked renewed Thursday while allowing just one unearned run over eight innings to lead Coastal to a 2-1 win over Kansas State at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
Herb (2-0) did walk four batters, but he allowed just three hits and struck out five to guide the Chants to victory on a day when their bats didn’t provide much help. He also contributed with the glove, tallying seven assists and two put-outs in a very thorough mound performance.
“Last week, I had no competitive attitude at all. It was terrible,” said Herb, who allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings against James Madison in the opener. “Today, I thought I had a little more fire, a little bit more attention to detail and got it done.”
Said Coastal coach Gary Gilmore: “For us to be competitive while some young guys learn how to play and new faces learn how to play, we need pitching like that. Tyler Herb was excellent, outstanding.”
The Chants (3-1) squandered several prime scoring opportunities along the way, and neither of the runs they did eventually score were credited as RBIs.
In the bottom of the fourth, Coastal had the bases loaded with no outs but got just one run out of it – on a double-play groundout by sophomore Will Remillard.
The Chants then left runners in scoring position the next two innings before getting a bit lucky in the seventh. Junior Jake Kane led off with an infield single and took second on sophomore Brian Pruett’s sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch in the dirt. Freshman Zach Remillard then flew out to shallow right field, and Kane was going to stay put at third until right fielder Mitch Meyer’s throw sailed up the line and over the catcher. Kane took advantage of the opportunity and raced home for what proved to be the decisive run.
“It was a shallow fly ball to right, so I wasn’t attempting to go home,” Kane said. “I just deeked the right fielder to hopefully draw a throw, and he did.”
Freshman Seth Lamando closed out the win for his second save, though he did make things interesting with a two-out hit by pitch and walk before inducing an easy grounder to first base to end the game.
Senior left fielder Alex Buccilli finished 2-for-2 with two walks for Coastal while junior right fielder Colin Hering was 2-for-4. Nate Williams (1-1) took the loss for Kansas State (2-2), allowing two runs (one earned) and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.
“Over the weekend, we didn’t compete as much as I knew we could,” Kane said. “But coming into today’s game, we knew we had a tougher ballclub. We really stepped it up today, and we showed that we want to ... be a team that can carry on that Coastal Carolina tradition.”
Coastal has switched up its pitching rotation for the weekend and will have freshman right-hander Alex Cunningham start Friday against Elon while moving sophomore lefty Ben Smith to Saturday so he can face No. 11-ranked Kentucky.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318, or follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/RyanYoungTSN.