No. 13 ECU Set To Host Tulane In AAC Series
GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 13 East Carolina (30-9, 12-4 AAC) will play host to Tulane (24-14, 13-2 AAC) in a four-game series that pits the top two teams in the American Athletic Conference against one another this weekend. First pitch of the series is set for 12 noon (ET) at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium and will be streamed on ESPN+.
The Pirates, who have made 30 NCAA Regional appearances, is coming off a road split with Wichita State. ECU, which is ranked in the Top 20 in all six major collegiate polls, returns return 27 players from last year’s club including American Athletic All-Conference performers Tyler Smith (2018) and Jake Kuchmaner (2019), as well as Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America selection C.J. Mayhue (2020). In all, the roster consists of 22 freshmen, six sophomores, nine juniors and three seniors.
Also stepping onto the diamond are 12 newcomers in Danny Beal (RHP), Joey Berini (INF), CJ Boyd (1B/RHP), Garrett Chandler (OF), Cam Clonch (OF/1B/RHP), Landon Ginn (RHP), Josh Grosz (RHP), Ryley Johnson (OF), Josh Moylan (1B), Joey Rezek (OF/C), Austin St. Laurent (INF/RHP) and Jacob Starling (INF/OF).
2021 TEAM QUICK HITS
- Mustache March has come to an end, but East Carolina, Memphis and Michigan’s baseball teams reached their goal of $10,000 to help #StrikeOutALS. Fans can still donate by clicking here!
- ECU opened up its 87th season of collegiate baseball (1932-42, 1946-present) with a three-game sweep of Rhode Island (Feb. 19-21).
- The Pirates have made a regional appearance in 16 of the last 21 seasons, including four of five under Godwin (2015, ’16, ’18, ’19) – no post-season in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Heading into this weeks action, ECU has been ranked or received votes in at least one national poll for 54-straight weeks (began in 2018 preseason).
- From March 15 to 22, the Pirates were a consensus Top 10 team and until last week they were ranked in the Top 15 for eight consecutive polls (March 8-April 19) … Back in 2019, five of the final six weeks leading up to the Super Regional’s, they garnered at Top 10 designation in all six major collegiate baseball polls.
- The Pirates led the nation (2020) in fielding percentage (.990) and sac bunts (23) … They also finished in the Top 10 in batting average (.317) and hits (183).
- Heading into this weekend’s action, ECU ranks among the nationals leaders (Top 25) in seven categories including win percentage (6th/76.9), K-to-BB ratio (10th/3.33), batting average (13th), Ks per 9 Innings (15th/10.7), slugging percentage (19th/.484), home runs (23rd) and WHIP (24th/1.25).
- This season the Pirates have fanned 410 batters in 39 games (10.7 kpg) and last year averaged 10.1 per contest (171 Ks in 17 games).
- Heading into the season, ECU has five two-way players on its roster … Dubbed #2WayU by Godwin, the five players are Zach Agnos, Skylar Brooks, Cam Clonch, Ryder Giles and Austin St. Laurent.
INDIVIDUAL QUICK HITS
- Seventh-year head coach Cliff Godwin stands third on ECU’s all-time wins list with 244 victories … He passed his college coach and ECU Hall of Famer Keith LeClair (212) on March 8, 2020 with a 4-1 win at Charlotte in the series finale.
- Freshman Carson Whisenhunt is third on the team in wins (four) and strikeouts (51), while standing fourth in IP (36.1) … Named AAC Pitcher-of-the-Week (March 15) and is a two-time AAC Honor Roll member … Became the first pitcher since Brooks Jernigan (1998) to record double-digit strikeouts in consecutive games … Named a Collegiate Baseball National Player-of-the-Week on Feb. 22 and picked up NCBWA National Pitcher-of-the-Month accolades on March 3.
- Junior Gavin Williams earned consecutive AAC Pitcher-of-the-Week honors (March 29, April 5) … Since moving into a starters role, he has allowed four runs (three earned) over 35.0 innings … He has 59 strikeouts to 11 walks of those six starts with three 10-plus strikeout games and a 0.77 ERA.
- Dating back to 2020, Jake Kuchmaner is 6-2 over his last 14 starts … In 2019 he tossed the 31st perfect game in NCAA DI history at Maryland on March 17.
- Tyler Smith, a 2018 all-conference performer, owns an 20-5 career record (80.0 win pct.) with one save in 71 games (39 starts) … Tallied seven career quality starts and combined on five career shutouts.
- Seth Caddell leads the team in HRs (11), RBI (36) and sac flies (4).
- Connor Norby was named AAC Player-of-the-Week (March 15) … He is a two-time AAC Honor Roll selection and currently owns a 46-game on-base streak heading into this weekends action … Collected at least one hit in 35 of 39 games (multiple 23 times) … Currently third in the nation in hits (68), fourth in hits per game (1.74), ninth in batting average (.420) and 12th in total bases (109) … Named to Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List (April 14).
- C.J. Mayhue has six saves on the season which stands 39th nationally … Earned his sixth save in game 2 of doubleheader vs. Memphis … Owns a 2-1 record in 21 outings (29th nationally) with 52 strikeouts to nine walks in 34.0 innings … Named to NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List (April 28).
- Thomas Francisco has his 31-game on-base streak snapped at Wichita State … Has hit five home runs in AAC action and is currently batting .444 in 16 contests … Overall, he is batting .390 (second in AAC) with eight home runs and 30 RBI … Named to AAC Weekly Honor Roll on March 22.
- Seniors Matt Bridges and Cam Colmore return for their sixth year … Combined, they have appeared in 157 games, with a 16-4 record, nine saves with 219 Ks in 211.0 IPs.
PROBABLE STARTERS (2021 stats)
Friday-1: (RH) Braden Olthoff (5-1, 2.56 ERA) vs. (RH) Gavin Williams (6-0, 1.003 ERA)
Friday-2: (LH) Jack Aldrich (4-1, 3.79 ERA) vs. (LH) Jake Kuchmaner (2-2, 5.36 ERA)
Saturday: (RH) Donovan Benoit (3-2, 4.83 ERA) vs. (RH) Tyler Smith (2-2, 3.69 ERA)
Sunday: (RH) Tyler Hoffman (4-1, 2.65 ERA) vs. TBA
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 seven 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 244-122-1 (.666) overall record … Ten players have earned All-America status, while 10 were NCAA All-Regional selections, 16 were named all-conference (15 first-teamers) and 14 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.