The Nick Chinners story is right there in the Facebook photo.

There is Chinners, a strapping 6-2, 225-pound first baseman, looking like a little kid as he pushes his face against the fence at Charleston Southern's baseball field.

On the other side of the fence is Chinners' grandfather. The two press their hands together through the chain link as they talk.

"That's the last photo of the two of us together," Chinners, a senior, said of his grandfather, Harold Mizzell. "He died in November. My granddad always said he wanted to be able to watch me play college baseball.

"I got three years with him, and he got to watch every game at home that I played, until this year."

Mizzell wasn't alone in the CSU Ballpark to watch Chinners become the Bucs' career leader in hits over the last four seasons. There are usually many members of the Chinners/ Mizzell clan, from nearby St. George, on hand when the Bucs play.

"It's been a gift to be able to play in front of my family, I'll tell you that," Chinners said.

The irony, of course, is that in order to be able to play college baseball in front of his family, Chinners had to leave his home in St. George when he was just 14 years old.

A promising player, Chinners moved to Columbia when he was 14 to live with his uncle, Barry Mizzell, the coach at Richland Northeast High School and himself a former CSU ballplayer.

After about a year, his immediate family was eventually able to move to Columbia as well.

"In St. George, it's hard to get looked at for baseball," said Chinners, the son of Jimmy and Debbie Chinners. "People don't want to come out that far to see small-town talents. They want to go to the bigger schools where they can see a bunch of talent at one time.

"It was tough to leave home. But I was raised in a family where we've been through a lot, lost a lot of people when I was young. If it was something I wanted to do, they supported me. And with their support behind me, it was easier than I imagined it would be."

The move paid off. Playing against stiffer competition at a Class AAAA high school, Chinners developed into an all-region player good enough to be offered some small-school scholarships.

"I had some offers to play in the Upstate," he said.

"But I always say I came back here because of my granddad."

Granddad recruited well. After redshirting as a freshman walk-on, Chinners batted .318 in his first season in 2008; hit .339 in 2009; and last season blossomed into an all-Big South player, batting .385 with seven home runs and 43 runs batted-in, earning more scholarship money each season.

This season, he's hitting .335 with five homers and 36 RBIs for a Bucs team that's posted its best season in years, and enters the Big South tournament with realistic hopes.

"A Big South championship, that's all that matters," he said. "All the accolades and stuff, they are stories I can tell grandchildren, I guess. But it doesn't add up to much unless you are winning, and that's our goal. We've got to show up and play and give it everything we've got."

Just like Granddad would have wanted.