Editor’s note: College Baseball Nation is joined by guest writer, Owen Surett. Owen Surett is a college student who resides in North Carolina. Owen covers College Baseball for his media outlet, College Baseball USA (@ColBaseUSA on Twitter), which was founded in Fall of 2019. He is passionate about various aspects of the game, including analytics, player development, and player evaluation.
This weekend Coastal Carolina hosted a four-team round-robin tournament at Springs Brooks Stadium. The Bryant Bulldogs, Kennesaw State Owls, and the West Virginia Mountaineers all took the trip to the Myrtle Beach area. The headliner of this tournament was the Saturday meeting between WVU and the host team, Coastal Carolina. West Virginia was coming off a Friday 13-3 victory vs KSU, while the Chanticleers got an 8-1 win of their own against Bryant later that day
The much-anticipated matchup featured two coaches with an old-school mentality going up against each other on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t what you would call a fundamentally-sound baseball game but it sure was a fun one, nonetheless. Randy Mazey sent Mountaineer LHP Adam Tulloch to the mound against RHP Nick Parker, the most established starting pitcher on Gary Gilmore’s Coastal pitching staff.
Tulloch is a deceptive lefty with a good fastball that jumps on top of hitters, especially same-handed hitters. He had plenty of success missing bats as evidenced by the 10 strikeouts on his line, but when he didn’t miss bats, the Chants were making solid contact. Three of Tulloch’s five hits allowed were home runs. Two of those came on back-to-back shots by Coastal Carolina. Designated hitter Alex Gattinelli hit a shot to left field followed by catcher BT Riopelle’s rope over the tall center field wall. Both figure to be key parts of the Chants’ potent offense in 2021. These homers made it 3-1 Chants in the 4th before the two teams handed the lead back and forth in the 5th inning, when West Virginia was finally able to get to Nick Parker.
Parker is a pitchability righty who the Chants hope will be the much-needed veteran presence on the staff. In this game he was 88-90 with his fastball, relying heavily on his changeup, his best secondary pitch which he used to get some big outs against left-handed hitters. He threw four innings of one-run ball, before the Mountaineers were able to knock him out in the 5th. First baseman Matt McCormick took an 1-2 89 mph fastball down the left field line for an RBI double. He scored on a single by the next batter catcher Vince Ippoliti, to tie the game. WVU has plenty of strength in their two and three holes with those two sluggers. Ippoliti would score on a single by CF Victor Scott, giving the Mountaineers a 4-3 lead. Talented freshman arm Luke Barrow came in to clean up the mess for the Chanticleers, with a live arm, low 90’s fastball, and an above average gyro slider.
Coastal took the lead back on a line-drive, two-run home run by SS Eric Brown. Brown’s homer scored LF Nick Lucky, who showed off his advanced feel for the barrel in Saturday’s game with 3 hits of his own. Coastal gave this one run lead to RHP Shaddon Peavyhouse who fought through mild control issues early on in his outing, turning it into 3.2 innings of no-hit ball out of the pen. 2B Dale Thomas gave Coastal a cushion in the bottom of the 8th with a homer featuring an epic stop-and-stare/bat flip moment. Coastal Carolina went on to win 10-5.
It was a somewhat messy game, with five errors in total, and some other baseball oddities including a batted ball hitting a runner for Coastal in the 7th. Coastal flexed their offensive muscle in this game which most assumed would be their strength heading into the season.
On the Mountaineers side, they really tried to make things happen on the basepaths, WVU stole four bases in this ballgame with four different baserunners. Losing their most talented pitcher Ryan Bergert to a preseason injury has to be difficult to adjust to and West Virginia had some troubles in this game getting outs when they needed them. It remains to be seen if the Mountaineers will be able to string together solid innings, especially when they go up against Big 12 competition.
Both teams proceeded to win their Sunday games. Coastal defeated Kennesaw State, 13-11, and West Virginia defeated Bryant 9-7. West Virginia will host Coastal Carolina in a three-game series March 19-21.