Home regional? Bus ride?
What’s the difference with these guys?
“Our goal wasn’t to host a regional,” College of Charleston third baseman Carl Wise said, “but to win a regional and to win a super regional and to go to Omaha.”
A year ago, the Cougars were a different team on the road: 11-12 within a 44-19 season. But the 2015 team with a 43-13 record heading into Friday’s game against Auburn at the Tallahassee Regional is just as dangerous outside the friendly confines of Patriots Point. The older, wiser Cougars are 17-5 on the road. The only losses: South Carolina (twice on opening weekend), Clemson, Delaware and Northeastern.
All it took to boost the travel vibe was that little sweep of Florida and Long Beach State at the Gainesville Regional last May and a change in dining habits.
“The one thing that we will definitely repeat this week is that we will always try to eat together,” head coach Monte Lee said. “Everything we do this whole week will be together so that we have as few distractions as possible. Our guys are going to get a lot of people coming at them wanting to go eat or go see this family member or that person and they get pulled in a lot of different directions. The big thing for us is to keep them together to focus on baseball and try to get ready.”
Lee plans “extremely light” practices.
“We want them as energized as possible going into Friday,” he said.
Second baseman Blake Butler said there is no “off-the-wall crazy-type stuff” or superstitions tied to the College of Charleston’s road winning. Just the typical card games, and movies on the bus.
“The coaches pick the movies,” Butler said. “We sometimes try to sneak a movie in there but if the coaches don’t like them, they throw it out.”
Every road trip is better with good preparation. To help navigate through the Auburn lineup, Lee planned to call N.C. State pitching coach Scott Foxhall, a former College of Charleston player and assistant coach.
Foxhall left for Auburn with former College of Charleston head coach John Pawlowski and was kept on the Tigers’ staff by Sunny Golloway after Pawkowski was let go in 2013. But Foxhall did not have his Auburn contract renewed after the 2014 season and was coincidentally replaced by Tom Holliday, who came from the N.C. State staff after a long career that includes a head coaching stint at Oklahoma State.
“We definitely will call Scott,” Lee said. “But I’m sure he has a lot of respect for those kids since he’s recruited a lot of them, and we would respect that.”
Staff ace Taylor Clarke, a junior right-hander who is 13-1 with a 1.34 earned run average, will start for the College of Charleston against Auburn. Lee is expected to go with senior right-hander Brandon Glazer (10-1, 2.68 ERA) against Florida State or Mercer on Saturday.
Auburn will start sophomore right-hander Cole Lipscomb (8-2, 2.38 ERA) or senior right-hander Rocky McCord (5-4, 4.12 ERA).
Seminoles head coach Mike Martin is holding back No. 1 starter Boomer Biegalski for Saturday, opting to go with Mike Compton against Mercer.
Biegalski is 7-4 with a 2.84 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 98.1 innings. Compton is 4-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff