Brickhouse, Morgan take over at first
By Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector
Friday, February 10, 2017
The thought of freshman slugger Spencer Brickhouse being the East Carolina baseball team’s main designated hitter this season and the first baseman of the future was sidetracked a week ago when senior starting first baseman Bryce Harman suffered a wrist injury.
Harman is out for at least next weekend’s opening series at Mississippi, if not another few weeks, and Brickhouse is on track to start at first while senior utility man Kirk Morgan has also increased his workload at the position.
Brickhouse is similar to Harman in that they are both left-handed hitters with power potential. Harman is listed as 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, and Brickhouse is 6-4, 226.
But Harman has made significant strides defensively during his career and was looking for a hot start to his final campaign. He made 160 starts during his first three seasons combined, and had developed as a valuable mentor to Brickhouse during practices in what many had hoped was grooming for the future.
“Honestly I haven’t really thought much about (the Ole Miss series) because of schoolwork and just trying to get better,” Brickhouse said before Thursday’s practice. “I’m just trying to compete when we are out here at practice and just get 1 percent better every day, like coach (Cliff) Godwin tells us all the time. We take that to heart.”
Harman and Morgan were the only Pirates to start at first a year ago. Harman had 44 and Morgan 18.
When Morgan plays the position while Harman is out, ECU’s infield configuration of all seniors except for shortstop Turner Brown remains intact. When Brickhouse mans the important corner spot, he will be flanked by senior Charlie Yorgen at second base and will have plenty of experience around him.
“I will rely on those guys when I need it, because I still am a freshman no matter what,” said Brickhouse, who had 25 home runs and 131 RBIs in 90 career games at Bunn High School. “I’m going to make mistakes and that’s an inevitable thing, but having those guys just kind of help me out whenever I might need it is really going to take a lot of pressure off of me. And I still want to go back and rely on what Bryce has taught me and just doing whatever feels natural from what he taught me during the fall.”
Morgan, Brickhouse, Luke Bolka and Bryant Packard also are quality options at DH.
As for Harman, Brickhouse said he very much is still involved in preseason preparations. Harman was at practice Thursday and is in the early stages of trying to regain the needed strength in his right wrist.
“He’s always been a great competitor, just like the rest of the seniors,” Brickhouse said. “No matter what, even when he can’t play, he’s still going to do whatever he can to help out the team.”
Contact Ronnie Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.