It’s been a tough week for Rhody baseball – and that may be an understatement. The Rams had to play not one, but two weekday games in the past three days, with a rain-out mixed in as well. Add in the fact that they’ve lost six straight and currently sit at 1-8 on the season and it hasn’t been fun so far. But a friendly reminder once again: URI started last year 0-9 before bouncing back in a big way. And their resurgence began at around this time last year… why not again? Rhode Island will face three teams in three days over the weekend as part of the Caravelle Resort Tournament. First up: the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
2013 Record: 37-23 (18-6 in the Big South Conference)
Key Losses: C Will Remillard, CF Jacob May, P Ryan Connolly
Key Returners: 2B Jake Kane, OF Colin Hering, P Ben Smith
For the first time this season, Rhody will take on a team that participated in the 2013 College World Series. But it sounds scarier than it actually is; Coastal Carolina lost a huge chunk of their roster after last year. Between graduation and the MLB Draft, the Chanticleers are down four of their top six hitters and their ace pitcher from last season. And they’re not adjusting well so far; Coastal Carolina is just 2-5 so far this season.
The Rams will most likely be seeing Ben Smith, the Chanticleers ace, on the hill tonight. The junior is Coastal’s top returning starter, although he comes into tonight with an 0-2 record and a 4.15 ERA so far this season. The big lefty does have 18 strikeouts over eight and two-thirds innings, however, so there’s no doubt he’s dangerous.
Tennessee transfer Richard Carter is leading the way on offense for Coastal Carolina in the early going with an impressive .455 average over the first seven games. The sophomore has yet to record an extra-base hit, but his 10 singles lead the team at the plate. The roster turnover for the Chanticleers has led to a pretty young lineup, with just one senior and one junior among their regular starters.
The time to turn things around is here… can the Rams do it? First pitch from Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach is slated for 5:30 p.m.