Fall Report: Coastal CarolinaFall Report
CONWAY, S.C. — Gary Gilmore took an unusual approach to Coastal Carolina’s fall schedule. While most teams stagger their two allotted outside exhibitions by at least a week or two (and sometimes by four or five weeks), Gilmore decided to play his scrimmages on back-to-back days to really test the depth of his roster. The Chanticleers were outplayed by Duke on Nov. 2 in Fayetteville, N.C., getting outscored 13-3 over 16 innings, but they responded well and looked very good a day later in Conway against UNC Wilmington, outscoring the Seahawks 13-9 over 14 innings.
To further strain Coastal’s depth, it played both scrimmages without its projected 3-4-5 hitters: junior outfielder Parker Chavers and physical transfers Fox Leum and Alex Gattinelli. Chavers, a dynamic power/speed threat, was sidelined when his shoulder popped out on a swing a few days earlier, a recurrence of the injury that has hampered him since early last spring. He played through it most of the season, all summer and most of the fall, but Coastal is focused on rehabbing and strengthening his shoulder so it won’t plague him during his draft year — and he has a chance to be a Day One draft pick with a big spring. The Chants are counting on Leum, who hit .392 with 24 homers in juco ball last year, to fill Zach Biermann’s shoes as a power-hitting first baseman in the heart of the order. Gattinelli hit .406 with 13 homers at his juco last spring, so he provides additional pop as well as a solid-average arm behind the plate, where he has some rough edges to smooth out but is a capable defender.
“If we can get everyone healthy, we’ll be very competitive by the end of the year,” Gilmore said. “We’re going to …