ECU starts series with doubleheader
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Friday, March 17, 2017
East Carolina is 5-0 in midweek baseball games this season, which is not only a perfect mark in those contests, but it also has helped the eighth-ranked Pirates string together wins.
Led by midweek starter and sometimes reliever Chris Holba, pitching depth has been key for ECU (13-4). Getting quality depth and having flexibility with pitchers has been important and will likely continue to be that way while senior ace Evan Kruczynski remains on the team’s injured list.
The Pirates beat Duke on Tuesday to improve 13-1 in 14 games. They host Mercer today for a doubleheader at Clark-LeClair Stadium and finish the series with a single game Sunday.
ECU is slated for a weekend rotation of Jake Agnos, Trey Benton and Jacob Wolfe against the visiting Bears (14-4). Agnos, a freshman left-hander, has a 0-0 record and 0.60 ERA in one start and three relief appearances.
“It allows us to have some consistency,” ECU coach Cliff Godwin said of midweek success, which for the Pirates has included a two-game sweep at College of Charleston. “Last year it seemed like we would play well on the weekend, but then lose in the midweek and it just knocks your confidence down a little bit. This group is older and if we are down three runs or four runs early, it doesn’t seem like it fazes them a whole lot.”
Seven different ECU pitchers have made a start, and the Pirates’ team ERA is 3.28 compared to a 6.72 mark by opponents.
Mercer started its season with seven straight wins. It is 10-1 at home and 4-3 in road contests.
East Carolina, Holba: The sophomore right-hander is ECU’s main midweek starting pitcher and he is the most likely candidate to start Wednesday in a big game against North Carolina in Greenville. The Pirates also play at Elon on Tuesday and could need Holba out of the bullpen against Mercer, but they would like to keep him in line to face UNC.
Mercer, Robert Broom: A freshman All-American a season ago who uses an unorthodox sidearm delivery, Broom has pitched in 12 of his team’s 18 games. He has 30 strikeouts and a 4.05 ERA in 20 innings. The righty allowed one run on two hits in four innings with six strikeouts and no walks against Georgia on Tuesday. The Bears won 4-3 in 12 innings for their second one-run, midweek victory over the Bulldogs this season.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.