June 3, 2014


Cougars Feeling Super

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

sean@collegebaseballinsider.com @collbase


After 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.


“I was 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.”


Now 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.


“It 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 are.”


Charleston has been here before, reaching the Atlanta Super Regional in 2006. But the Cougars fell to Georgia Tech.


This 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.


“Going into it, we felt we had a chance to compete in this Regional,” he said.


The 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).


“This 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.”


And a dangerous one at that.

(photo courtesy of CofC Media Relations)