GREENVILLE, N.C. – Thirty-four home games at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the 14th-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2017 East Carolina baseball schedule announced Wednesday by third-year head coach Cliff Godwin.
The 2017 slate features 21 games against eight teams that earned a bid to the 2016 NCAA Regionals, 29 against squads with 30-plus wins (21 with 35-plus, eight with 40 or more wins) and eight that finished ranked in the national polls.
ECU will play 21 of its first 29 games at Clark-LeClair Stadium including its first American Athletic Conference series with 2016 tournament champion and NCAA Regional participant Connecticut (March 31-April 2).
“We are very excited about our 2017 schedule,” Godwin said. “We will be tested both at home and on the road during non-conference play. The American is one of the best baseball conferences in the country and we will have our work cut out for us once again. We look forward to competing this spring to put ourselves in a great position for postseason play!”
The Pirates open the 2017 campaign on the road traveling to SEC member Ole Miss (Feb. 17-19) and then Campbell (Feb. 22), before playing the first of seven-straight at home with tilts against LaSalle (Feb. 24-26), Elon (March 1), Western Carolina, St. John’s and Appalachian State – all of which are participants in the LeClair Classic (March 3-5).
After a pair of road games at College of Charleston (March 7-8) during Spring Break, ECU will close out March with home games against UNC Charlotte (March 10-12), Mercer (March 17-19), North Carolina (March 22), Towson (March 24-26), Liberty (March 31) and Connecticut, while playing road contests at Duke (March 15) and Elon (March 21).
The month of April has ECU playing 10 home and eight road games. The Pirates will conclude the AAC opening series against the Huskies (April 1-2) before embarking on a four-game road trip to North Carolina (April 4) and Houston (April 7-9). ECU will play home conference contests against UCF (April 13-15) and Tulane (April 28-30) along with non-conference games against UNC Wilmington (April 11) and NC State (April 26), while traveling to UNC Wilmington (April 18) and Cincinnati (April 21-23).
ECU will close out the regular season with 11 games in May starting with a three-game road series at USF (May 5-7). The Pirates final home stand will take place from May 10-16 with games against Duke (May 10), Memphis (May 12-14) and Campbell (May 16). Before heading to The American Championships (May 23-28) in Clearwater, Fla., ECU will travel to Connecticut (May 18-20) for their final regular season conference series.
During his two years at the helm of the program, Godwin has guided ECU to a pair of NCAA Regional berths, a Super Regional appearance, an American Athletic Conference Tournament title and a 78-44-1 (.638) overall record. Three players have earned All-America honors, five were named to the Charlottesville All-Regional Team, six took home all-conference honors (five first-teamers), seven were selected as American Player-of-the-Week, while a pair were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
ECU returns 19 letterwinners, including four Charlottesville All-Regional selections (Evan Kruczynski, Eric Tyler,Travis Watkins/Most Outstanding Player and Charlie Yorgen), 2016 Freshman All-American Dwanya Williams-Sutton and 2014 all-conference performer Bryce Harman. In all, the roster consists of 10 freshmen, eight sophomores, nine juniors and nine seniors.
Also stepping onto the diamond are 14 newcomers, a group that consists of three infielders (Nick Barber, Spencer Brickhouse and Bryant Packard), one catcher (Zack Moore), four outfielders (Dusty Baker, Tyler Edwards, Andrew Henrickson and TJ Riles) and six pitchers (Jake Agnos, Trey Benton, Hunter Britt, Hunter Hood, Ryan Ross, Tyler Smith). Recently the 2016-17 recruiting class garnered a pair of Top 25 national rankings by D1Baseball (No. 18) and Baseball America (No. 23).