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ECU: Pitchers dominate Game 1

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East Carolina's Trey Benton pitches during the Purple-Gold scrimmage on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

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ECU, Staff reports

Friday, November 10, 2017

Chilly conditions held true at Clark-LeClair Stadium late Friday afternoon.

Game 1 of the East Carolina baseball team’s fall Purple-Gold World Series did not feature a run and was dominated by pitching, led by the team’s expected top duo of hurlers in sophomores Jake Agnos and Trey Benton. Each went five innings, struck out seven batters, walked two and allowed one hit.

One sequence was telling. Benton struck out the side in order in the bottom of the third and Agnos followed in the top of the fourth by doing the same.

“I stood behind home plate for a reason today and I wanted to see what they had,” ECU coach Cliff Godwin said. “They both threw pitches that I don’t care what level you are hitting at, you are not going to hit. I was impressed for them to go out and perform in cooler conditions because we haven’t had these conditions this fall for them to pitch in.”

Agnos gave way to promising freshman Gavin Williams — the tallest player on the team at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds — and he retired his first seven batters before eventually giving up a double by Josh Netterville for the only extra-base hit. Andrew Henrickson made a catch in the right field corner on a potential sacrifice fly and perfectly sent the ball on one bounce to home plate for another out to end the frame and ignite the Purple dugout.

Freshman catcher Seth Caddell stood out early with a base hit and he threw out speedy Dusty Baker on a stolen base attempt. Caddell and Jake Washer spent the majority of the fall as the main prospects to replace former multi-year starter Travis Watkins.

Williams and left-handed freshman Jake Kuchmaner each pitched three scoreless innings. Reliever Matt Bridges got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the ninth with a strikeout and groundout.

The Pirates will finish their fall workouts with a doubleheader Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m.

“Whoever loses has to run, so they are always playing for something,” Godwin said. “It was competitive today and I’m looking forward to more of that.”

Region history

East Carolina senior Bakri Abushouk garnered the first all-region honor in men’s cross country program history Friday morning, finishing in 11th place to lead ECU at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Charlottesville, Va.

This also marked just the third time in program history that both Pirates teams finished inside the top 20 at the regional meet. ECU’s men were 14th and women 16th.

Led by Abushouk’s time of 29 minutes, 31 seconds, the Pirates placed 14th out of 32 teams for their best showing since taking 13th place in 2000. They soundly defeated regional rivals Duke and North Carolina while falling just four points shy of Clemson.

Nick Ciaccia smashed his former personal-best 10K time, running a 30:23 good for 38th place. Dean Abushouk and Andrew Ciaccia also set career bests in the 10K.

ECU’s women took 16th out of 37 squads, posting their best finish at a regional since a ninth-place result in 2012. Junior Grace Sullivan took 44th place in the 6K time of 21:40.

Volleyball matchup

East Carolina volleyball’s three-match win streak was stopped Friday in Minges Coliseum with a 25-13, 25-16, 25-14 win by Wichita State, which is undefeated in the American Athletic Conference and ranked No. 20 in the country.

ECU (18-10, 9-6 American), which is having one of its best seasons in school history, has another home match Sunday at Memphis.

Volleyball recruits

East Carolina’s rising volleyball program inked two new recruits this week to join the team beginning in the fall of 2018.

S’Mara Riley is a 5-foot-10 middle blocker from Encino, Calif. She is a 2016 PrepVolleyball All-American who also is part of a San Gabriel Elite club program whose 2018 class is ranked No. 1 nationally.

Janiece Jeffereies (5-10) is a setter/right side from Germantown, Md., who has already helped Northwest High School to a pair of Maryland 4A state championships and more than 70 wins. She was Montgomery County Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Golf recruits

The East Carolina’s men's golf stayed in state with national letters of intent from A.J. Beechler, Attie Giles and Jack Massei during the early signing period. They will all enroll at ECU as freshmen next fall.

Beechler won this year’s NCHSAA 4A golf individual title with a 36-hole total of 8-under 136 to lead Pinecrest High to its third consecutive state championship. He was also selected as the News & Observer’s 2016-17 boys’ golfer of the year.

One of his teammates at Pinecrest is Giles, who during the past two years has posted five top-8 amateur/junior championship finishes, including runner-up at the 2017 Trusted Choice Big I Classic – North Carolina.

Massei is a senior at Green Hope in Cary and a three-time first-team All-SWAC 4A player and former N.C. Junior boys’ champion. 

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