CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's large senior class will say goodbye to Buccaneer Field this weekend as CSU hosts Coastal Carolina in Big South Conference play. The series opens with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Friday night at CSU Ballpark.
Saturday's game and Sunday's series finale will be streamed live on the Big South Network.
Twelve Bucs will make their final appearance at CSU Ballpark and will be recognized in a ceremony before Saturday's game. Brandon Burris, Jack Crittenberger, Bryan Dye, Sly Edwards, Kevin Hickey, Chayce Hubbard, Ryan Maksim, Alex Ministeri, Cole Murphy, Jon Piriz, Tommy Winterstein, and Evan Raynor all play at CSU Ballpark for the final time this weekend.
"This is a senior class that has worked hard and has been very important to CSU Baseball," CSU Head Coach Stuart Lake said. "They have competed in practice and in games to a level that will help our program for a long time."
CSU (16-30, 4-14 Big South) will try to finish the season with a flurry of wins and play its way into the Big South Championship in Lexington, S.C in two weeks. The Bucs open the weekend two games behind Radford and UNC Asheville for the final spot. One-run games have been the deciding factor in the conference season. CSU is 0-5 in league play in games decided by a single run, including a 1-0 lost last week at Winthrop.
PITCHING MATCHUPS (Coastal Carolina @ Charleston Southern)
Friday, 6 p.m. – RHP Alex Cunningham (7-3, 4.08 ERA) vs. RHP Evan Raynor (4-4, 2.45 ERA)
Saturday, 4 p.m. – RHP Andrew Beckwith (8-1, 1.87 ERA) vs. LHP Daniel Johnson (4-4, 5.53 ERA)
Sunday, 2 p.m. – RHP Jason Bilous (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Evan Nations (1-5, 4.25 ERA)
Lost in the tough losses has been consistently solid work out of pitching coach Adam Ward's bullpen. The Bucs' relieving corps has consistently kept them in tight ballgames. Seven relievers combined on six-hit shutout in Wednesday's 1-0 win at North Carolina Central. Freshman lefty Eddie Hiott registered his first career win, while Will Hartsell continued a solid back half of the year with his third save. Kyle Dyson and Alex Ministeri threw two scoreless frames apiece while notching multiple strikeouts.
CSU also has two all-conference candidates in the outfield in Sly Edwards and Chris Singleton. Edwards knocked in Singleton with an opposite field RBI single for the only run of Wednesday's victory. Edwards leads the Big South in triples and ranks fifth in the league in batting, at .367. Singleton paces the Bucs in RBI, extra-base hits and slugging percentage. He had back-to-back three-hit games in last weekend's series at Winthrop.
Coastal Carolina (34-14, 16-2 Big South) comes to Charleston with a four-game first-place lead, and can sew up its first regular season conference title since 2013 with two wins. The Chanticleers are ranked 15th in the RPI and sport victories over Virginia and North Carolina. Coastal thumped Liberty by a combined 43-12 score over a three-game sweep in Lynchburg last weekend. Gary Gilmore's team paces the Big South in team batting and team pitching. Saturday's Chanticleer starter, Andrew Beckwith, is the league leader in ERA.
CSU's senior class isn't the only one saying goodbye to CSU Ballpark. Coastal Carolina is playing its final series against the Bucs as a member of the Big South. The Chanticleers are moving to the Sun Belt Conference following the season.