June 3, 2014
Cougars Feeling Super
winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title in
its first year in the league, College of Charleston knew it had
earned a spot in the NCAA Regionals. When sent to Gainesville,
there was a bit of surprise: one, the Cougars, with an
RPI of 53, were matched
against No. 2 national seed Florida; two, they were a four-seed.
a little surprised we were going to Gainesville because I just
assumed they’d send us to Columbia,” coach Monte Lee said Monday
night. “The thing that really surprised me the most was that we
were a four seed because we thought we had the resume of a three
seed…we didn’t feel slighted, we didn’t feel disrespected. We
were just excited that we had earned our way into a Regional.”
the Cougars (44-17) are heading to the Super Regionals after
beating the Gators and then second-seeded Long Beach State
twice. Charleston became just the fourth No. 4 seed to advance
to the Super Regionals, joining Stony Brook (2012), Fresno State
(2008) and Missouri (2006). Stony Brook and Fresno State each
reached the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., with Fresno
taking home the national title.
was awesome to say the least,” Lee said from the team bus, still
some three hours from Charleston. “We’re not satisfied with
where we are, but we’re obviously very excited about where we
Charleston has been here before, reaching the Atlanta Super
Regional in 2006. But the Cougars fell to Georgia Tech.
year’s edition will head to Texas Tech, which silenced Miami
Monday to reach its first Super Regional. With only three
national seeds (of eight) and seven No. 1 seeds in total (of 16)
surviving the extended weekend, the Cougars are among a mix of
teams that many didn’t expect to be playing the second weekend
for the Omaha dream.
Despite being matched up the Gators and part of a Regional that
included Long Beach State and North Carolina, Lee saw a balanced
Regional with four teams built on pitching and defense. The
Cougars had taken two of three from North Carolina to open the
season in a series switched to Charleston because of weather.
And they had played – and won – a bevy of close games.
into it, we felt we had a chance to compete in this Regional,”
Cougars preceded to do what they do best: score early and rely
on their pitching and defense.
Charleston scored first in all three of its Regional games,
improving to an incredible 30-2 when it scores first. The
Cougars closed the Regional with a 2.33 ERA and didn’t make an
error in three games, allowing a total of seven runs – they had
four hits in each of their two wins against Long Beach. And
maybe most impressive, Charleston won two more games that were
decided by two or fewer runs in the Regional, bringing it to
21-9 in such games this season (including four extra-inning wins
late in the year culminated by an epic 23-inning win over
William & Mary).
is a confident group,” Lee said. “It’s a fun group to coach.
It’s like watching a Little League team play that just wants to
play. They’re smiling, they’re laughing, they’re cutting it up
in the dugout…it’s just a fun, loose group.”
dangerous one at that.
(photo courtesy of
CofC Media Relations)