Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the news and information section for East Carolina University men's and women's sports.
No. 16 East Carolina hits the road for the first time in 2020 when it travels to in-state foe Campbell for a midweek contest at Jim Perry Stadium. First pitch Wednesday, Feb. 19 is set for 5 p.m. (ET).
Under the direction of sixth-year head coach, the Pirates return 18 letterwinners, including USA Collegiate National Team member and All-American Alec Burleson
as well as AAC All-Conference performers Tyler Smith
(2018) and Jake Kuchmaner
Also stepping onto the diamond are 18 newcomers, which features one outfielder (Trevor Losito
), three catchers (Matt James
, Ben Newton
and Justin Wilcoxen
), a pair of two-way players (Zach Agnos
and Skylar Brooks
), one utility player (Alec Makarewicz
) and 12 pitchers (Cody Benton
, Parker Boyle
, Elijah Gill
, Trystan Kimmel
, Dylan Lawson
, Nick Logusch
, C.J. Mayhue
, Nate Nabholz
, Carson Whisenhunt
, A.J. Wilson
and Bradley Wilson
). In all, the roster consists of 11 freshmen, eight sophomore 13 juniors and four seniors.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE WEEKEND
2020 TEAM QUICK HITS
- The Pirates, who opened their 86th season of intercollegiate baseball on Feb. 14 against William & Mary, won the 1961 NAIA National Championship, have claimed 26 conference titles (14 regular season/12 tournament), made 30 NCAA Regionals and advanced to five Super Regionals (2001, 2004, 2009, 2016 and 2019).
- ECU and Campbell has played 97 times with the Pirates holding a 71-26 all-time lead in the series ... The two clubs met four times in 2019 with ECU winning three games including a double-header sweep in the Greenville Regional finals (10-3, 12-3) and advancing to the Louisville Super Regional.
INDIVIDUAL QUICK HITS (prior to series)
- ECU opened the 2020 season with a weekend series sweep over William & Mary ... It was the third season opening sweep for the Pirates in the last four years.
- The Pirates pitching staff has fanned 44 batters in three games (14.7 kpg) with a season-high 17 in the series finale against the Tribe - the most since 17 vs. UCF on March 22, 2019.
- Offensively, the Pirates outscord the Tribe 20-8 on the weekend and tallied 34 hits (11.3 hpg).
- The Pirates currently own a 1.000 fielding percentage (87 putouts and 20 assists in 107 chances).
- Ryder Giles became the first player in program history to make two relief appearances in the same game (2/16/20) ... He entered in the seventh and got ECU out of a bases loaded jam with consecutive strikeouts ... Then exited in the eighth inning with runners on in favor of Zach Agnos returning to shortstop, but later returned to strike out a Thomas Solomon (second time in the game) in the eighth with the bases loaded to escape the threat.
- ECU returns 18 lettermen from a year ago.
- The Pirates welcome 18 newcomers (or half of its current 36-man roster).
- ECU has potentially six two-way players this season (Zach Agnos, Skylar Brooks, Alec Burleson, Ryder Giles, Connor Norby and Carson Whisenhunt).
- Pirates are ranked in all six major polls (see page 13) heading into the Campbell contest ... Including preseason, ECU has been ranked or received votes in at least one national poll in 38-straight weeks (began in 2018 preseason).
- The Pirates' home schedule consists of 34 games including the 17th-Annual Keith LeClair Classic.
- The 2020 campaign features 17 games (10/home, 6/away, 1/neutral) against nine teams that earned a bid to the 2019 NCAA Regionals, 37 against squads with 30-plus wins (20 with 35-plus, four with 40 or more wins) and 10 contests versus six clubs that finished ranked or receiving votes in the final national polls.
- Sixth-year head coach Cliff Godwin is the only ECU skipper to take the Pirates to a pair of Super Regional appearances (2016, 2019).
- Godwin (204) is nine wins away from passing Keith LeClair (212) for third place on ECU's all-time wins list.
PROBABLE STARTERS (2020 stats)
- Alec Burleson, who was named to five All-America teams in 2019, has earned inclusion on four teams heading into his junior campaign ... Named preseason AAC Player-of-the-Year accolades by leagues head coaches, Baseball America and D1Baseball ... Named to initial Golden Spikes Award and Stopper-of-the-Year Watch List ... Owns an 11-4 career record with nine saves in 44 appearances (18 starts) ... Can also play multiple positions (1B, RF, LF and DH) ... Sports a .334 career batting average with nine home runs and 80 RBI in 102 career games ... Allowed one run over seven innings with six strikeouts in season opener vs. William & Mary.
- Tyler Smith tossed five scoreless frames allowing one hit with six punchouts ... Owns a 17-2 record (.895 win percentage) with one save and 115 strikeouts in 183.1 innings (58 games/27 starts) ... Tallied six career quality starts.
- Jake Kuchmaner earned his 12th career win working two scoreless frames in a predetermined start against William & Mary ... Named AAC Preseason Pitcher-of-the-Year by the leagues head coaches ... Unanimous Preseason All-Conference selection ... Owns an 12-2 career record with a 3.30 ERA in 28 games (20 starts) ... Tossed 28th perfect game in NCAA D1 history at Maryland on March 17, 2019 ... Earned First-Team All-AAC honors as a sophomore ... Swept league and national honors in consecutive weeks (3/11/19 & 3/18/19) ... Registered four career quality starts.
- Lane Hoover was one of 11 players to appear in 50 or more games (54) during his true freshman season ... Started 37 games (15/CF, 22/RF) ... Stood fourth on the team with a .329 av-erage (44-for-134) with 15 RBI and four doubles ... Scored 31 runs ranking seventh on the club ... Drew 27 walks while striking out just 15 times ... Ranked third on the team with seven stolen bases (out of 15 attempts) ... Tallied 11 sacri-fices (one sac fly, 10 sac hits) ... Recorded lone game-win-ning RBI against UCF (March 22) with an RBI single in the third stanza ... Reached base at a 70.0 percent rate when leading off an inning (21 of 30) ... Recorded eight two-out RBI.
- Ryder Giles opened the season at shortstop after making 52 starts at the hot corner during freshman season ... Was one of 11 players to appear in 50 or more games (57) ... Batted .242 (36-for-149) with a home run and 26 RBI ... Laced five doubles and scored 29 runs ... Drew 25 walks while striking out 33 times ... Ranked third on the team in hit by pitches (11) ... Registered four game-winning RBI (three in league play).
- Seth Caddell started 20 of 37 games played (16/C, 4/DH) where he hit at a .241 clip (20-for-83) .. Hit four home runs, drove in 13 and scored eight times ... Legged out a pair of doubles and one triple ... Drew four walks and struck out 26 times ... Tallied second career game-winning RBI in 2020 season opener with a walk-off single in the 11th inning vs. William & Mary (other vs. Radford/2019).
- Thomas Francisco named AAC Player-of-the-Week (see page 7) to open the 2020 season ... One of 11 players to appear in 50 or more games (56) ... Started 34 games (3/1B, 2/3B, 29/DH) ... Stood fifth on the team with a .319 batting average (36-for-113) ... Hit four home runs with 26 RBI and scored 13 times ... Drew 20 walks while striking out 22 times ... Ranked fourth on the team in hit by pitches (eight) ... Tallied nine multi-hit and six multi-RBI games.
- Bryson Worrell played in 49 games making 22 starts (21/CF, 1/RF) during a ... Batted .253 (24-for-95) with five home runs and 19 RBI ... Scored 24 runs and walked nine times ... Swiped five of six bases ... Added three doubles and was hit by a pair of pitches ... Tallied five sacrifices (one sac fly, four sac hits) ... Regis-tered at hit in 19 of 49 games ... Drove in a run 11 times on the year with a career-high four against Radford in game two of a doubleheader.
LHP Elijiah Gill (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Adams (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
GODWIN AT A GLANCE
- Cliff Godwin, who was named the 16th head coach in school history on June 25, 2014, was a four-year letterwinner for the Pirates from 1998-2001 ... He has been a part of 11 NCAA Regional and two College World Series teams at the Division I level as an assistant coach and head coach ... During his five years at the helm of the program, Godwin has guided ECU to four NCAA Regional berths (2018 and 2019 Greenville Regional host), two Super Regional appearances, the 2019 American Athletic Conference Regular season title, a pair of AAC Tournament crowns and a 204-109-1 (.651) overall record ... Ten players have earned All-America status, while 10 were NCAA All-Regional selections, 16 were named all-conference (15 first-teamers), while 13 were drafted by Major League Baseball teams ... A two-time AAC Coach-of-the-Year selection (2015, 2019), Godwin was inducted into the George Whitfield Hall of Fame in January of 2016 ... In 2018, he completed a summer stint on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team staff that posted a 12-3 record that included series wins over Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba ... As a player, he helped former ECU skipper Keith LeClair's teams post a 169-76 four-year ledger, including 46-plus wins in each of his final three seasons (46-16 in '99, 46-18 in '00 and 47-13 in '01) ... ECU won a pair of CAA Tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Regionals every season from 1999 to 2001 ... The Pirates were the top seed in their regional all three years, including a No. 7 national seed in 2001 where they advanced to the Super Regional round before being eliminated by Tennessee.