Only a road game with rival UNC-Wilmington on Wednesday stands in the way of East Carolina opening American Athletic Conference play against Central Florida next weekend.
ECU completed the three-game sweep of Maryland on Sunday, beating the Terrapins 4-0 on a sun drenched afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates improved to 16-4 with the victory.
“Anytime you can win a college baseball game, it’s good, it’s a tough thing to do,” said Pirate coach Cliff Godwin after the win. “Maryland is a good club and they were much better offensively than what their numbers showed. I thought we pitched outstanding the entire weekend and the defense was outstanding as well.”
The Pirates are also, slowly but surely, getting back to 100 percent healthy. Former Conley star Bryant Packard makes a huge difference when he’s in the lineup.
“Offensively we hit a lot of balls hard today even though we didn’t have a ton of runs or hits,” Godwin said. “Packard squared up four balls, but only got two hits. But overall [we had] a lot of quality at-bats today and this weekend.”
Packard’s ailing back was much better this weekend. Turner Brown was back after some shoulder issues.
Dwanya Williams-Sutton had an MRI on his wrist over the weekend. The procedure was precautionary in nature, to ease Dwanya’s mind as he begins to swing the bat again.
Gavin Williams threw a bullpen and had a long toss session this weekend. Godwin said he’s due for one more bullpen, and if everything goes well Williams will pitch in at least one game at UCF.
Godwin has said all along that this team is deeper than it was a year ago. Case in point, Alec Burleson is sidelined, and in comes Ryan Ross.
All Ross did on Sunday was fire 3 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball at Maryland to get the save. Ross also picked up a save in Friday night’s win, giving up just one hit in 2 1/3 innings. That’s just shy of six innings on the hill, giving up just one hit for the lefthander.
“It was big,” said Ross on Sunday. “With hitters scoring runs, you just have to go out and do your job. It’s easy when you have those eight guys behind you.”
The Pirates are unbeaten on the road so far this season, but will face a stiff challenge at UNCW, and then in the AAC opening series in Orlando with UCF.
“When we start conference play it’s just a whole new season,” said Godwin. “Our guys feel good about themselves, but league play is a different deal.”
The Knights have a pair of midweek wins over No. 1 Florida on their resume and stand at 17-4 to start this week. UCF has Florida State for a pair of midweek games before the Pirates come calling on Friday night.
“Our guys have done a great job all the way back to the fall with their intent and their energy,” said Godwin. “I keep saying it, but they are doing it and that’s being where your feet are. They guys have done a great job of not getting complacent. They take every game as a separate entity and get ready to go.”
The Pirate players continue to sport their facial hair for “Mustache March.” It’s all to raise money and awareness for ALS in honor of former ECU coach Keith LeClair.
This year the Pirates and the Memphis Tigers have teamed up for the cause. Memphis pitcher Blake Bennett lost his father, Dave, to ALS. The Tigers wanted to join ECU in the cause to honor Blake’s father.
To make a donation, just click here.
You can also support the cause by participating in the annual ‘Walk to Defeat ALS’ in April in Greenville. It’s my honor to serve as Emcee. For more information on that event, click on this link.
These are two great causes that are close to many of our hearts because of Keith LeClair.