Ranch’s Cameron Pearcey reaches CWS final with Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina spent its day off before the College World Series begins Monday in Omaha, Neb., at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, taking a day away from the diamond and taking an opportunity to see some of Nebraska beyond TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

Cameron Pearcey and his teammates wore enough Chanticleers apparel to know they would get a few greetings. They’re the underdogs at the World Series and neutral fans from around the country have been swayed to root for the small-conference program making its first trip to the CWS.

Pearcey was overwhelmed by the number of CCU caps adorning children’s heads, and he said he and his teammates were stopped about 10 times to pose for pictures.

“It was definitely cool to see that,” Pearcey said. “We’re definitely attracting more of a fan base.”

Pearcey, a freshman second baseman from Bradenton, has ridden the bench through the Chants’ historic run to Omaha, but he has had a front row seat to the biggest athletic accomplishment in school history. During a postgame celebration following Coastal Carolina’s finals-clinching win against TCU, Pearcey was shown on ESPN riding on a teammate’s back.

The Chanticleers’ unprecedented run to the College World Series final caps Pearcey’s freshman year. The former Lakewood Ranch High School infielder — he was a first-team All-Area selection last year — has played in 30 games this year while the Chanticleers contended for conference and national titles.

“It’s been a crazy ride, especially for a freshman year,” Pearcey said. “There isn’t pretty much more that I could ask for a better group of guys.”

Pearcey, who is unlikely to play during the three-game championship series against Arizona that begins Monday at 7 p.m., batted .167 with seven runs, five RBIs, three steals and a home run in 36 at-bats during his first season in Conway, S.C.

From his spot in the dugout, Pearcey is trying to relish the opportunity of playing for a national championship and appreciate the rarity of the accomplishment at CCU.

“I wouldn’t say we’re an underdog, but that’s how all the major schools and conferences looked at us coming in to this, kind of a Cinderella story,” Pearcey said. “I don’t think this at all. We’re a good group that—we love each other and we enjoy playing with each other and we don’t want that to end right now.”

David Wilson: 941-745-7057, @DBWilson2