Charleston Baseball Hits The Road For Tough Auburn Tournament

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (3-1) vs. INDIANA STATE (2-2)
Game #5
February 22, 2013 • 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Plainsman Park (4,096)

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (3-1) at AUBURN (4-0)
Game #6
February 23, 2013 • 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Plainsman Park (4,096)

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (3-1) vs. MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (2-2)
Game #7
February 24, 2013 • 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Plainsman Park (4,096)

PROBABLE STARTERS
Friday
LHP #18 Sean Manaea Indiana St. 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 3 BB, 6 K
RHP #22 Matt Pegler CofC 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 0 BB, 6 K

Saturday
LHP #17 Michael O’Neal Auburn 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 5.1 IP, 0 BB, 3 K
LHP #30 Jake Zokan CofC 0-0, 4.15 ERA, 4.1 IP, 0 BB, 8 K

Sunday
LHP #30 Zac Curtis MTSU 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
RHP #20 Nathan Helvey CofC 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 K

LEADING OFF
Coming off a 2-1 opening weekend and a midweek win over county rival Charleston Southern, College of Charleston hits the road for the first time to face a tough field in the Auburn Tournament this weekend. CofC will go against Indiana State on Friday, host Auburn on Saturday, and Middle Tennessee State on Sunday.

Saturday will mark the second time that College of Charleston has faced off against former head coach John Pawlowski since he took the head job with the Tigers after the 2008 season. Pawlowski’s Auburn team won the previous meeting 7-4 at Patriots Point in 2011. From 2000-08, Pawlowski went 338-192-1 with College of Charleston, leading the Cougars to four SoCon championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Super Regional berth in 2006.

The Cougars were 17-14 away from Patriots Point last season and will look to improve upon that mark against a very tough SEC squad, and Indiana State’s Sean Manaea, the number two overall prospect in college baseball according to Baseball America.

In four games, the Cougars have hit .252 as a team and outscored opponents 28-15. The pitching staff has recorded an ERA of 2.25, while posting a 4.1:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Rain and stormy weather are in the forecast for Friday and Saturday’s games, so fans should stay tuned to CofCSports.com for the latest information on game times and dates. Friday’s time has already been forward to a 1 p.m. (ET) start. A detailed description of rain delay procedures is available on the Auburn Tournament web site.

ON AIR
All of the weekend’s broadcasts will be audio only and available for free on the Charleston Sports Network at CofCSports.com. Media relations contact Will Bryan will provide the play-by-play commentary. Saturday’s game against Auburn will have subscription screaming video from Auburn’s website, AuburnTigers.com. Free live stats will also be available on that site.

SERIES VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD
College of Charleston is 2-2 all-time against Indiana State, splitting a four-game series with the Sycamores back in 2008 at Patriots Point. The Cougars have only faced Auburn once in the D-I era, a 7-4 loss back in 2011. Finally, this will be the first meeting between College of Charleston and the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State.

OPENING STRONG
After CofC’s series victory over Xavier on opening weekend, the Cougars are now 14-1 in season-opening series’ under head coach Monte Lee. With Brandon Murray‘s solo homer on Sunday, Charleston has also hit a home run in every opening series for the last decade and beyond.

SCOUTING THE SYCAMORES
Indiana State comes to Alabama after losing to IPFW, defeating Alabama A&M and splitting with Morehead State on opening weekend.

The Sycamores are led by Louisville Slugger Preseason First Team All-American Sean Manaea, who will start against the Cougars on Friday. Indiana State was picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference, just a year removed from their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1995. They return five position starters and seven pitchers from a 2012 squad that went 41-19 and earned a berth in the NCAA Eugene Regional.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Led by former CofC coach John Pawlowski, Auburn is a perfect 4-0 on the season after running through Maine on opening weekend.

Picked to finish seventh in the SEC West Division, Auburn will rely on Preseason All-America selection Ryan Tella who is already hitting .357 with a triple and a team-leading six RBI. Last season, the Tigers led the SEC with a .304 team batting average to go with a league-best 113 stolen bases.

SCOUTING THE BLUE RAIDERS
Middle Tennessee State is 2-2 this season, taking two of three from Ball State and losing to Austin Peay Tuesday night.

MTSU was picked to finish sixth in the Sun Belt preseason poll, with outfielder Trent Miller earning preseason All-Conference accolades. Michael Adkins leads the team with a .444 batting average and team-high 8 RBI. The Blue Raiders are hitting .218 as a squad and have a 3.50 staff ERA.

MURRAY KEEPS IT GOING
Preseason All-SoCon first teamer Brandon Murray is currently on a league-best 15-game hitting streak, dating back to last season. Murray hit the team’s first home run of the year on Sunday against Xavier and knocked a two-RBI double vs. CSU. He is currently hitting .357 with five RBI.

HEIDT ROUNDING SECOND
Sophomore Gunnar Heidt has already gotten off to a strong season at the plate, launching a home run, two triples and two doubles in the first four games. His slugging percentage of 1.000 is fourth in the conference and his four RBI against CSU was a new career high.

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING
College of Charleston has shown great patience at the plate so far this year, drawing 24 walks and posting a team on-base percentage of .382. The Cougars lead the conference in walks as a team, while Brandon Glazer (5) and Brandon Murray (5) each rank second in the league individually.

FREIE-ING THE OPPOSITION
With the departure of three veteran bullpen arms in David Peterson, Kyle Owings and Nick Osterman, the Cougars have looked to senior Drew Freie to be a veteran presence among the relievers. Freie has answered in a big way, earning his first career win over CSU on Tuesday. He has punched out a team-high nine batters in just six innings pitched for an average of 13.5 K’s/game. Opponents are hitting just .190 against Freie.

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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