The Coastal Carolina baseball team will be shorthanded for its important three-game series at Sun Belt Conference-leading Texas-Arlington this weekend because of mounting injuries. Three position players are expected to miss the series.
Right fielder Dalton Ewing missed a series due to illness two weeks ago and in his second at bat last Friday at Louisiana-Monroe he was hit by a pitch and fractured his hand. It’s the same injury that cost Ewing his freshman season in 2015 and he’s expected to miss two to three weeks. He was batting .325 over his last 22 games.
Left fielder Cory Wood injured a ligament in his left hand and has missed the last nine games and is also expected to be out for the remainder of the regular season. Wood is batting .275 and is second on the team with a .405 on-base percentage. He has 13 stolen bases and was used as a pinch runner this past week.
Second baseman Cameron Pearcey had Tommy John surgery March 20 and will receive a redshirt season.
The Chants hope to get Ewing and Wood back in time for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament from May 23-28 hosted by Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga.,
With the injuries, backup catcher Kyle Skeels is the lone remaining position player on the bench.
If needed, designated hitter Peyton Isaacson arrived at CCU as a catcher and could play right field and first base, freshman pitcher Rafi Vazquez has a team-high 11 pinch hit appearances and could be available to play in the field, pitcher Jason Bilous began taking batting practice after Ewing’s injury, and the Chants could consider burning a redshirt season for a freshman.
CCU (31-17-1, 16-7-1) is a half-game behind South Alabama (31-18) in the Sun Belt’s East Division, while UTA (29-18, 19-5) leads the West Division by 4 1/2 games and has won three straight.
The Chants had a six-game winning streak snapped by College of Charleston (23-25) with a 6-5 loss on Wednesday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.
CCU battled back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead before Charleston’s Logan McRae tied the game with a two-run homer in the seventh and won it with a two-out RBI single in the ninth.
The Chants went in order in the bottom of the ninth to snap a four-game winning streak in the series with Charleston. CCU second baseman Wood Myers was 3-for-5 with three RBI Wednesday.
Without a conference tournament title and automatic berth, the Chants will likely have to win this weekend’s series and continue to close the season on a hot streak at Clemson on Tuesday and at home against Appalachian State next Thursday through Saturday to have a chance for an at-large tournament bid.
Baseball America has Coastal Carolina among the “Next Four Out” of the 64-team field for NCAA regionals, and has just one Sun Belt Conference team in the tournament with South Alabama projected to be the No. 3 seed in a four-team regional hosted by North Carolina.
Louisiana-Lafayette is listed among the “First Four Out” and UTA is not mentioned despite having the best conference record. The Southeastern Conference is projected to have nine teams in the tournament by Baseball America writers Michael Lananna and Teddy Cahill.
Both D1baseball.com and CollegeSportsMadness.com have just one Sun Belt team in the tournament field in their May 10 and May 8 projections. D1baseball has South Alabama among the tournament teams and College Sports Madness has UT Arlington with South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette and CCU among the “First Eight Out.”
Basketball adds size
CCU head men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis has announced the signing of forward Chas Brown, who will transfer after graduating from Coppin State. Brown will have one season of eligibility remaining and will work toward a graduate degree in sociology.
Brown played in 18 games last season, averaging a team-leading 12.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward shot 56 percent from the field while also adding 16 blocked shots and 16 steals, and will be relied upon to provide scoring, rebounding and defending in the post.
Hansen’s historic season
Coastal Carolina junior Malene Krolboll Hansen shot an even-par 72 Wednesday in the final round of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Golf Lubbock Regional to tie for 45th individually with a 9-over 225.
Hansen posted scores of 76 and 77 in the opening two rounds and completed one of the best seasons in CCU women’s golf history. Her 72.40 stroke average entering regional action was the top scoring season in the history of the program.
She had four top-five finishes on the season, including a win at the Golfweek Conference Challenge where she shot a program-record 9-under 207, and 17 rounds of par or better while being named 2017 First Team All-Sun Belt Conference after two years as an All-Big South Conference honoree.
Hansen will enter her senior campaign with the lowest career average in school history at 73.36. She has played 31 events with nine top-five finishes, 14 top-10 finishes, nine rounds in the 60’s and 38 rounds of par or better.
Softball season ends
Coastal Carolina's softball season ended with a 9-1 loss Wednesday to Texas-Arlington in the Chanticleers’ first ever Sun Belt Conference Tournament game in Troy, Ala.
UTA broke open a one-run game with seven runs, including six that were unearned, in the bottom of the fourth inning on a CCU error, three hits, three walks, a passed ball and two fielder's choice miscues. Timi Tooley had two of CCU’s four hits.
The Chanticleers ended their season at 32-23, winning 30 games or more for the sixth consecutive season under head coach Kelley Green, and will not lose any seniors.
CCU sophomore Taty Forbes, a Washington native, earned First Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors this season after leading the Sun Belt in hitting in the regular season with a .411 batting average.
She also was tied for first in the league with 35 stolen bases, her 39 stolen bases attempts were second and her 67 hits were tied for third most in the conference.
Track at conference
The Coastal Carolina men's and women's outdoor track and field programs will compete in the Sun Belt Conference Championships from Friday through Sunday at UTA’s Maverick Stadium, and some team members are among the favorites to win conference titles.
Entering the championships, Coastal Carolina freshman Keishaun Limehouse of Moncks Corner has the conference’s top time in the 110-meter hurdles followed by Kevondre Hunt in fourth, Braylon Wilkerson is second in the 400, Hutson Baumann is third in the 10,000m Jerome Coaxum Jr is second in the 400 hurdles followed by Tre Stanley in fourth and Dee Jennings in fifth, and Zach Bolton has the fourth longest throw in the shot put. The 4x100 relay team holds the top spot and the 4x400 team sits second.
In women's events, Aynslee van Graan has the top time in the 1,500, Kyla van Graan is second in the 5,000 followed by Annie Bothma in third, Hesmari Coetzee and Olivia Coopwood run second and third in the 400 hurdles, Chloe White is third and Morgan Boyle fifth in the javelin, and the 4x400 relay team has the fourth spot.
Hogan adds coach
Coastal Carolina has hired H.B. Lockwood as an assistant to women’s head soccer coach Paul Hogan and he’ll serve as a defensive/goalkeepers coach.
Lockwood spent the last three seasons in a similar role at Lynn University in Florida, which decreased its goals against by at least 10 goals in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Lockwood was a goaltender at Limestone College, has an MBA from Lynn University and played in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Developmental League.