LUBBOCK, Texas - Going into the season, the College of Charleston starting pitchers had little or no game experience.
It didn't matter.
Despite a weekend rotation made up entirely of newcomers, including a redshirt-sophomore and two true freshmen, the Cougars set a program record for the best team ERA in a single season at 2.73.
Charleston posted a program-best opponent batting average of .224, while Cougars allowed the fewest walks per nine innings in program history (2.55) and tied the program record with 20 team saves in a season, led by senior Michael Hanzlik's record-setting 16 save campaign.
"Our starting pitching was great all season," said College of Charleston head coach Monte Lee. "The thing that amazes me is that they were all so young and untested when the season started. I knew one thing - they'd throw strikes - and they did."
The Cougars' defense set a program record with a fielding percentage of .973, as the Cougars turned 41 double plays and made 16 outfield assists.
The Cougars did not make an error during the Gainesville Regional or this weekend's Texas Tech Super Regional.
"This was probably the best defensive team I've had," Lee said.
The College of Charleston will return 18 of 24 players that made the trip to Texas Tech this weekend.
However, the Cougars will have to say goodbye to six players, including outfielder Brandon Murray, a four-year starter, who finished his career ranked seventh all-time with 28 career home runs.
He is also tied for ninth all-time with 98 career walks. Murray finished his career hitting .304 with a .523 slugging percentage. He had 123 career RBIs.
Closer Michael Hanzlik set a single-season record with 16 saves this season. Catcher Ryan Welke, Blake Ross, Ben Boykin also are seniors.
Junior Gunnar Heidt, who led the Cougars in hitting this season, was drafted by Toronto in the 13th round and is expected to sign with the Blue Jays.
"We're going to miss those guys," Lee said.
Wells drafted by Jays
Nick Wells, a College of Charleston signee, was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the third round with the 83rd overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Wells, a 6-5, 200-pound left-handed pitcher from Battlefield High School in Gainesville, Va., signed with the Cougars.
Lee doesn't expect Wells to be in the Lowcountry next season.
"I think him getting drafted in the third round kind of says it all," Lee said. "He had a great senior year and really impressed the pro scouts. When you go after a player like Nick, you have to expect something like this. We wish Nick all the best as he moves forward with his baseball career."
Wells is expected to receive about a $600,000 signing bonus from the Blue Jays.
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