OMAHA, Neb. – The past week or so has been a crash course in playing second base for Coastal Carolina’s Tyler Chadwick.
Normally a first baseman, Chadwick was called upon to move to second base for the Chants’ College World Series opener against No. 1 national seed Florida. And he handled it flawlessly, contributing to a Coastal infield that chewed up grounder after grounder induced by starting pitcher Andrew Beckwith in a 2-1 win over the Gators Sunday night.
Not bad considering he found out he was starting at second when the Chants’ arrived at TD Ameritrade Park for their opener.
“Paez [Shortstop Michael Paez] helped me out a lot,” Chadwick said. “Coach Schil [volunteer assistant Matt Schilling] helped me out a lot kind of being ready for each pitch and where to move and everything. And Seth [sophomore 2B Seth Lancaster] and Cam [freshman 2B Cameron Pearcey] were talking to me a lot about different stuff.”
Chadwick was pressed into duty in large part because of a knee injury to Lancaster, the normal starting second baseman. After delivering the game-winning hit to help Coastal Carolina advance past NC State in the Raleigh Regional, he injured his knee sliding into home against LSU in the Super Regionals and isn’t available at the College World Series. Pearcey filled in for Lancaster in the second game of the Super Regional.
“I don’t think he’s played second base in about three years,” Chants coach Gary Gilmore said. “But Coach Schilling did a great job of getting him prepared and [he] made a couple of really nice plays for us.”
One such play came in the third inning, when he ranged to his left on a Buddy Reed grounder and made a jump-throw to first to get the Gators’ star. He also made a nice play fielding and throwing to Beckwith covering first on a tweener in the 4-hole and had a hand in one of Coastal’s two double plays. And his four putouts and five assists clearly overshadowed his three strikeouts in an 0-for-3 night at the plate.
The move also put Kevin Woodall Jr. on first for his 11th start of the season, and Woodall responded with several nice plays of his own, none better than when he ranged right, jumped and threw to Beckwith, who jumped and came down at the bag to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Woodall got meaningful innings in the Raleigh Regional when Chadwick was battling an oblique injury.
It’s not the first time Chadwick has stepped up big time for the Chants.
In 2014, he started 42 games at catcher, including 32 of the final 33 games, when Coastal Carolina became thin at the position because of injuries.
Gilmore said part of the reason he called Chadwick’s No. 8 was because he was among a core group of eight seniors.
“I just thought this group of guys has been together, and if we’re going to lose, I’m going to probably lose with a senior at second base that he’s been one of the brothers,” Gilmore said, later adding, “He’s such a selfless gamer for this group of guys here, and for him to come in there and have a solid game, it made a world of difference for us.”