It was only minutes before the starting lineups were officially announced over the stadium speakers prior to the first pitch Saturday that word came from the Coastal Carolina dugout that junior catcher Casey Schroeder was going to be a late scratch for the Big South championship game.
As it turns out, he may not play again this season, according to Chanticleers coach Gary Gilmore.
“He’s probably out for the season would be my guess,” Gilmore said. “He busted a rib [Friday], pulled it out of joint, whatever. He’s one of the toughest kids I coached in 30 years and he can’t throw and he tried to hit and it really bothered him. So it doesn’t look good.”
Schroeder, who has started 53 of Coastal Carolina’s 57 games this season, is batting .230 with a team-high 13 home runs and 31 RBIs.
He was replaced in the lineup Saturday by freshman Matt Beaird, who was making just his fourth start and first since March 9.
Gilmore said Schroeder incurred the injury on a throw he made Friday and tried unsuccessfully to get loosened up before the game Saturday.
“He tried to do it. For that kid not to be able to [play] …” Gilmore said, not finishing the thought. “To try to play him would have only made it a lot worse.”
The leaves Beaird as the Chants’ starting catcher going forward unless Schroeder’s status changes.
The rookie from Johnson City, Tenn., was 1-for-3 with an RBI single Saturday.
“Schroeder got hurt yesterday and he came up to me before the game today and said, ‘Just be ready to go today,’” Beaird said. “… It wasn’t very tough to get mentally ready for it. We do lots of reps in practice and that really prepares me for it.
“I was just trying to step up for my team.”
NCAA Selection Show Watch Party
The 64-team NCAA tournament bracket will be unveiled Monday at noon in a live selection show on ESPNU, and the Chants will host a watch party open to the public at Handley’s Pub and Grub in Carolina Forest.
The Chants made seven straight NCAA Regionals appearances before struggling through a down season last year. They are hoping their strong overall resume and No. 20 ranking in the NCAA RPI will secure their return to the tournament.
Radford’s Hunter Higgerson, who delivered the walk-off game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, was named the Big South tournament’s most valuable player.
Coastal Carolina sophomore shortstop Michael Paez, junior infielder Zach Remillard and sophomore designated hitter G.K. Young made the all-tournament team.
Young led all players with seven RBIs this week and Paez led the tournament with eight runs scored while playing stellar defense at short.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318 or on Twitter @RyanYoungTSN.