While 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist was feeling the love from Pelicans fans this past weekend, another MVP on the opposing side of the ball was getting some well-deserved love from the Myrtle Beach public.
Andrew Beckwith, the Most Outstanding Player in the 2016 College World Series and one of the key players in Coastal Carolina’s run to a national title, returned to the Grand Strand as a member of the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
“It’s honestly surreal,” Beckwith said. “To come back to Myrtle Beach to play pro ball right down from where I was able to be a part of a national championship team is pretty amazing.”
Beckwith said he used to come down to watch the Pelicans play when he was in college but never imagined himself actually getting the opportunity to play professional baseball at Ticketreturn.com Field.
“You go to games here and realize that these guys are professionals and you look up to the players that are out there on the diamond,” he said.
Beckwith’s breakout year was in 2016 when he went 15-1 on the mound, posted a 1.85 ERA and struck out 75 batters. His most memorable performance was in the opening game of the College World Series against No. 1 Florida. Beckwith pitched a complete game, throwing seven strikeouts and, with the help of his teammate’s bats, getting the big win that would kick start that championship run.
Throughout his four years at Coastal, Beckwith appeared in 102 games for the Chants, going 32-9. He pitched 329 innings in his career, recorded a 2.74 ERA and tossed 211 strikeouts.
Since he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2017, Beckwith says that he has certainly grown as a player and a person, learning valuable lessons along the way.
“Adjusting to the amount of innings I pitch in is one of the biggest things I have had to deal with,” he said. “Being full-time in the bullpen is different for me for sure.”
While Beckwith is aware that he is pitching for the opposing team this weekend, he does hope that any Coastal fans who come out support the same player they cheered for at Springs Brooks Stadium.
“I hope that in the back of their minds they’re rooting for me as well,” he said. “I know they would like to see their Pelicans win, but it’ll be nice to see that hometown support regardless of the jersey I am wearing.”
Beckwith said that despite the tough year he is having, the support from his friends and family are giving him the confidence that will finish the season strong.
Since coming into the minors, Beckwith has played in 81 games for five teams. In 2017, he saw action for the AZL Royals and the Idaho Falls Chukars. While at Idaho Falls, Beckwith recorded four saves in 13 appearances. The most saves he ever recorded in a season at CCU was two, a feat he accomplished in each of his first three years.
In 2018, Beckwith saw his season start out for the Lexington Legends in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I loved Lexington,” he said. “Each place I have gone, I have taken something different away to use at the next place. One of the best things about playing in Lexington, as well as in Wilmington, is that I am on East Coast time.”
Statistically, Beckwith was at his best while playing for the Legends. Beckwith went 3-1, appearing in 25 games. He recorded a 1.85 ERA and threw 43 strikeouts.
After his stint in the Bluegrass state, Beckwith started his first stretch in Wilmington, playing in 11 games for the Blue Rocks.
While Beckwith started the 2019 season out in Arkansas, he returned to Wilmington at the end of July. He talked about the chance to come back to a club he is familiar with.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I have heard high praises from the pitching coach here in Wilmington. Plus, being back in the Carolinas, I am close to family. It’s good to be close to them again and get to see them in the stands and have that support.”
Beckwith did see action against the Pelicans on Saturday night, going 2.1 innings, recording two strikeouts and helping the Blue Rocks get a 4-1 win over the Pelicans. He even managed to get Zobrist to pop out.
After the Blue Rocks finish their series against the Pelicans, the team will go back to Wilmington for a three-game series against Lynchburg. The Pelicans and Blue Rocks will meet each again later this month for a four-game series in Wilmington between Aug. 30 to Sep. 2.