When Coastal Carolina rushed the field to celebrate its 2016 baseball national championship, Matt Eardensohn was watching from the stands.

The Chanticleers were more than 1,300 miles from their Conway stadium, on a foreign field in Omaha, Neb.

Eardensohn, now a member of the Coastal Carolina team,  was just a few miles away from his childhood home, on summer break from junior college in Iowa.

“I pretty much went to the College World Series every year growing up,” he said. “When Coastal won it all, I didn’t really know much about the school.”

But when he was recruited to Coastal ahead of his junior year, Eardensohn quickly did his homework. The 2016 title was an easy sell, but so was his research that proved Coastal’s success wasn’t a fluke.

“They had been knocking on the door to Omaha for a few years,” he said. “It’s just a really solid program here and I learned how underrated they are.”

Just about every preseason baseball poll has Coastal ranked in the top 25, and above Clemson and South Carolina.

But Coastal coach Gary Gilmore, now entering his 24th season as a head coach at his alma mater, isn’t fazed.

At the same time, he isn’t naïve. He admits that this 2019 team will be the most talented team of his career with the most depth. But putting it all together will be a tough task.

“We have so many talented pieces, but there’s a question mark on about 90 percent of the roster because they haven’t quite been in this position before,” he said.

That’s an ode to the group he once called the “Omaha guys.” The last starters from that 2016 run graduated last year.

They include Hanahan native Seth Lancaster, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, and Georgetown native Kevin Woodall, who was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Both players have been working out with their former teammates in Conway ahead of spring training.

“Having them around has been great,” said Cory Wood, the Chants’ utility guy who was named a preseason All-American. “I just learn what I can from them, and pass it down to the younger guys to keep it going.”

The junior infielder had already committed to Coastal in 2016, a few months before they won the whole thing.

Watching his future school capture the title from his home in Raleigh, Wood knew he had made the right decision.

“It’s been our goal since then to get back to Omaha,” said Wood, who batted .296 with 22 RBIs and 61 runs last season.

Helping the Chants achieve that goal are first baseman Zach Biermann, an All-American who belted 13 homers and 57 RBIs while batting .302 last season, and second baseman Parker Chavers, who batted .323 with seven homers and 42 RBIs as a freshman.

Eardensohn posted a 7-0 record through 20 relief appearances last season and was also named a preseason All-American.

COASTAL CAROLINA

2018 RECORD: 43-19 (23-7 Sun Belt)

COACH: Gary Gilmore, 927-476-1 in 24th season

TOP PLAYERS: 2B Cory Wood (.296, 22 RBI, 61 runs); 1B Zach Biermann (.302, 13 HRs, 57 RBI)

TOP NEWCOMERS: INF Nick Lucky (6-0, 185), Denver, Pa.; P Jakob Mattos (5-10, 175), Hudson, Fla.

2019 SCHEDULE

FEBRUARY

15 — VCU, 4 p.m.; 16 — Maryland, 3 p.m.; 17 — Campbell, 3 p.m.; 19 — at UNC Wilmington, 4 p.m..; 22 — Michigan State, 12 p.m.; 23 — Kent State, 3 p.m.; 24 NC State, 3:00 p.m.; 27 — at College of Charleston, 4 p.m.

MARCH

1 — Illinois, 5:30 p.m.; 2 — UCONN, 2 p.m..; 3 — Indiana, 12 p.m..; 5 — Wake Forest, 4 p.m.; 6 — Wake Forest, 11:30 a.m..; 8 — San Diego, 2 p.m.; 9 — Washington, 10 p.m.; 10 — Oregon State, 6 p.m.; 13 — at Clemson, 6 p.m.; 15 — at ULM, 7 p.m.; 16 — at ULM, 3 p.m.; 17 — at ULM, 2 p.m.; 22 — Troy, 6 p.m.; 23 — Troy, 2 p.m.; 24 — Troy, TBD.; 26 — at UNC Wilmington, 6 p.m.; 27 — at UNC Wilmington, 6 p.m.; 29 — Arkansas State, 6 p.m.; 30 — Arkansas State, 2 p.m.; 31 — Arkansas, TBA

APRIL

2 — at Illinois, 7 p.m.; 3 — at Illinois, 7 p.m.; 5 — at South Alabama, 7:30 p.m.; 6 — at South Alabama, 7:30 p.m.; 7 — South Alabama, 2 p.m.; 10 — at NC State, 6 p.m.; 12 — at Little Rock, 7 p.m.; 13 — at Little Rock, 3 p.m.; 14 — at Little Rock, 2 p.m.; 16 — College of Charleston, 6 p.m.; 18 — Georgia Southern, 6 p.m.; 19 — Georgia Southern, 6 p.m.; 20 — Georgia Southern, 2 p.m.; 23 — at North Carolina, 6 p.m.; 26 — at Georgia State, 6 p.m.; 27 — at Georgia State, 2 p.m.; 28 — at Georgia State, 1 p.m.

MAY

3 — Louisiana, 6 p.m.; 4 — Louisiana, 2 p.m.; 5 — Louisiana, TBA.; 10 — at UT Arlington, 7:30 p.m.; 11 — at UT Arlington, 3 p.m.; 12 — at UT Arlington, 2 p.m.; 14 — Clemson, 6 p.m.; 16 — Appalachian State, 6 p.m.; 17 — Appalachian State, 6 p.m.; 18 — at Appalachian State, 2 p.m.; 21-26 — Sun Belt Championship in Conway

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry