GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 14 East Carolina (10-2) continues its home weekend stand hosting in-state foe Charlotte (8-3) in a three-game weekend series. First pitch of the set is slated for Friday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. (ET) at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates, who have made 30 NCAA Regional appearances, has opened the season winning eight of their last 10 games which included a series sweeps of Rhode Island, Appalachian State and Duke, as well as a road series victory at Georgia Southern. ECU 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 is here! East Carolina, Memphis and Michigan’s baseball teams are raising money to help #StrikeOutALS. Donate 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 46-straight weeks (began in 2018 preseason).
- 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).
- For the third-straight year and fourth time since joining The American in 2015, ECU was picked to finish first in the 2021 preseason poll by the league’s eight head coaches.
- This season the Pirates have fanned 134 batters in 12 games (11.2 kpg) and last year averaged 10.1 per contest (171 Ks in 17 games) … They have registered double-digit strikeouts in eight of 11 contests including a season-high 18 at Georgia Southern (Feb. 28).
- Offensively, the Pirates have recorded double-digit hits in eight of its last nine games heading into Tuesday’s match-up at Duke.
- 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 224 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 … Heading into the season, he stood 15th in win percentage among active NCAA DI head coaches (page 10, bio on page 5).
- Dating back to 2020a, Jake Kuchmaner has won five of his last seven starts posting a 5-0 record … 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 18-3 career record (85.7 win pct.) with one save in 64 games (33 starts) … Tallied six career quality starts.
- Seth Caddell leads the club in home runs (6) and is tied in RBI (16) after hitting a solo shot at Duke (March 9) … Nationally he ranks fourth in home runs and 25th in RBI.
- Connor Norby, a two-time AAC Honor Roll selection, enters the weekend riding a 19-game hitting streak dating back to 2020 (t7th longest since 2000) … Currently leads the team and AAC in batting average (.491) while standing 36th nationally … Tallied 26 hits on the year to rank second in the nation one behind Jaden Fein (San Diego Sate).
- Freshman Carson Whisenhunt continued to impress in his third start of the season earning his second win against App State (March 7) … In three outings he has fanned 27 batters to lead the conference and rank 10th nationally … He has struck out multiple batters in an inning 10 times thus far … Became the first pitcher since Brooks Jernigan (1998) to record double-digit strikeouts in consecutive games … His 11 punch outs is tied for third all-time among freshman hurlers in a single-game … He is a two-time AAC Honor Roll selection, 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.
- C.J. Mayhue, a NCBWA Stopper-of-the-Year Watch List candidate, earned his second save of the season in the series clinching win over App State following his shutout frame in the ninth … In two games vs. Duke this year he is 1-0 with a save and has tossed 7.1 scoreless frames with 10 strikeouts.
- Thomas Francisco currently owns a 12-game hitting streak, which began against Rhode Island on Opening Day … Hit his first home run in over a year against then No. 25 Duke (Feb. 23) which was a three-run shot to right field in the seventh inning.
- Seniors Matt Bridges and Cam Colmore return for their sixth year … Combined, they have appeared in 134 games, with an 11-4 record, seven saves with 176 Ks in 177.0 IPs … Colmore is tied for the lead in wins.
PROBABLE STARTERS (2021 stats)
Friday: (RH) Andrew Lindsey (2-0, 2.08 ERA) vs (LH) Jake Kuchmaner (1-0, 4.61 ERA)
Saturday: RH Bryce McGowan (2-1, 0.56 ERA) vs. (LH) Carson Whisenhunt (2-0, 1.72 ERA)
Sunday: (RH) Matt Brooks (1-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. (RH) Tyler Smith (0-0, 4.85 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 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 224-115-1 (.660) 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.