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Coastal Carolina loses to Texas Rangers in exhibition

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington playfully bristled before the game Tuesday when asked if he had scouted his team's exhibition opponent, Coastal Carolina.

"They're a college. We're professionals," Washington told reporters. "I don't think I need to scout them."

For six innings, though, there wasn't much difference between the two - not on the scoreboard, at least.

Sure, it was a non-counting preseason exhibition game for the defending American League champions - and an atypical one at that. The Rangers replaced most of their starters after five innings and replaced Coastal's pitchers and catcher with their own for their final three turns at bat.

But the Chanticleers at least kept it interesting when it mattered.

Texas didn't pick up its first hit until the fourth inning and tallied just two singles and two runs through five innings against its collegiate counterparts on the way to a 6-2 win before a sold-out BB&T Coastal Field crowd of 6,599.

And when it was over, Washington seemed rather impressed with what the Chants had shown him.

"They played with a lot of spirit," Washington said. "... They showed me a pretty good level. I thought they played excellent defense out there, I thought their energy was high."

Making history as the first Major League Baseball team to play in Myrtle Beach, the Rangers brought their full complement of big names and put on a show during pre-game batting practice, which was to the benefit of early arriving fans.

Because there wasn't much offense to be seen once the game started.

Coastal senior left-hander Matt Rein, a Houston native, induced groundouts from All-Stars Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to start the game to bring reigning A.L. MVP Josh Hamilton to the plate.

Rein got Hamilton to swing and miss on a big cut to draw the count to 1-2 and get the fans' attention. When he later missed inside on a close fastball, the crowd "ooohed" in response, and Rein eventually got Hamilton to ground out as well.

"I was nervous. I was trying not to let my emotions get the best of me," Rein said. "When Josh Hamilton came up, I went behind the mound, turned around, didn't watch him get in the box, didn't look at him one time. I mean, I don't know if I would have been able to handle it if I saw him."

The Chants rotated pitchers each inning through the first five frames, and junior lefty Keith Hessler made quick work of the Rangers in the second as well, setting down three more All-Stars in Adrian Beltre, Michael Young and Nelson Cruz in order.

And in the bottom of the third, senior lefty Matt Laney retired Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Julio Borbon in a row to make it nine up and nine down.

Texas eventually knocked two runs across in the bottom of the fourth as CCU freshman Tyler Herb hit Kinsler to leadoff the inning, Hamilton followed with a one-out single up the middle, Herb plunked Beltre and Young laced another single up the middle for a 2-0 lead.

"The first four or five innings that they threw their pitchers out there, those guys did a good of pounding the strike zone - except for the [one] that hit Kinsler and hit Beltre," Washington said. "I thought they went out there and they pounded the strike zone, they weren't intimidated at all and I hope they understand that they do have another level and feel good about themselves."

The Chants couldn't help but feel good, especially coming off two losses last weekend to UNC Asheville.

"We definitely held our own out there," junior second baseman Tommy La Stella said. "We surely didn't embarrass ourselves. We played well, we hung with them for a little while. Hopefully we can take this one on to the next game."

Coastal tacked on its first run in the top of the fifth. Junior Keith Hardwick led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on freshman outfielder Jacob May's opposite field single to cut the Chants' deficit to 2-1.

The score didn't expand until after Texas had started subbing in its pitchers to pitch to its own hitters. The Rangers also had their bullpen catcher Josh Frasier behind the plate for the Chants' final three innings in the field and let him hit in the CCU lineup.

"I think our approach was obviously a little different than it's going to be on Friday [in the season opener]," Young said. "We were looking just to be aggressive, kind of make sure we kept the game going a little bit. We didn't take our normal swings that we would, but I think that's what it was all about. I think our [focus] was keeping our guys healthy and making sure we had a good time out there."

Four of Coastal's earned runs were charged to Texas reliever Neil Ramirez, who yielded four hits in 12/3 innings against his teammates as the Rangers took over pitching duties for both sides. Ramirez was just getting used to the mound in Myrtle Beach, though, as he will remain in town and pitch for the Pelicans to start the season.

The Chants, meanwhile, plated one more run in the ninth as juniors Daniel Bowman and Taylor Motter knocked singles off standout Texas closer Neftali Feliz.

"It was wonderful just to see different guys compete," CCU coach Gary Gilmore said. "It was one of the things I wanted to kind of see. Let's be honest, if we focus like that and do like that, we've underachieved greatly up to this point. There's no doubt about it, and that will be the thing that I tell them in the locker room.

"You can't tell me that's the way we competed this past weekend, that's not the way we competed the weekend before. Heck, they wanted to prove that they belonged. And that's a big piece - you want to find an identity, that's how you find it."

That said, he wanted to take the exhibition game for what it was.

"Let's be honest, there was great things to pull from this," Gilmore said. "But you know, we're a college team. We've got five or six, seven guys that will get to play beyond college on this club. They're American League champions. Let's put things in perspective."

Coastal CarolinaAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Woodward 3b

3

0

0

0

0

1

Lopes ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

Orton cf

4

0

0

0

0

0

La Stella 2b

3

0

1

0

0

0

Martin 2b

1

0

0

0

0

0

Bowman rf

3

0

1

0

1

0

Witten 1b

3

0

0

0

1

1

Frawley c

2

0

1

0

0

0

Frazier c

2

1

0

0

1

0

Motter ss

2

0

1

1

2

1

Hardwick dh

3

1

0

0

1

3

May lf

2

0

1

0

0

1

Young ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

Totals30

2

5

1

6

8

TexasAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Kinsler 2b

1

1

0

0

1

0

German 2b

2

1

1

0

0

0

Andrus ss

3

0

0

0

0

0

Blanco ss

2

1

1

0

0

1

Hamilton lf

2

1

1

1

0

0

Deeds lf

2

1

1

2

1

0

Beltre 3b

1

0

0

0

0

0

Davis 3b

2

0

0

0

0

2

Young 1b

2

0

1

1

0

0

Teagarden dh

2

0

1

2

0

1

Cruz rf

2

0

0

0

0

0

Chavez rf

2

0

1

0

0

0

Moreland dh

4

0

0

0

0

1

Napoli c

3

0

1

0

1

0

Borbon cf

2

0

0

0

0

0

Gentry cf

1

1

0

0

1

0

Totals33

6

8

6

4

5

Coastal Carolina

000

010

001

--

2

5

1

Texas

000

200

40x

--

6

8

0

E-Woodward, S.. DP-Rangers 1. LOB-Chanticleers 8, Rangers 9. 2B-Teagarden. HBP-Young, T.J.; Kinsler, I; Beltre, A.. SB-Motter, T.; Deeds, D. 2; Chavez, E.. CS-Bowman, D..

Coastal Carolina

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Rein

1

0

0

0

0

0

Hessler

1

0

0

0

0

0

Laney

1

0

0

0

0

0

Herb, L

1

2

2

2

0

1

Cuevas

1

0

0

0

1

0

Ramirez

12/3

4

4

4

3

3

Eppeley

11/3

2

0

0

0

1

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Ogando, W

6

3

1

1

4

5

Lowe

1

0

0

0

1

2

Oliver

1

0

0

0

0

0

Feliz

1

2

1

1

1

1

WP - HERB, T.; OGANDO, A.. HBP - by HERB, T. (KINSLER, I.); by HERB, T. (BELTRE, A.); by LOWE, M. (YOUNG, T.J.).

Umpires - HP: David Mills 1B: Dan Wilson 2B: Tom Katancik 3B: Max Smith

Start: 6:40 pm Time: 2:46 Attendance: 6599

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