LeClair weekend brings in teams, beer sales
BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Friday, March 1, 2019
There typically is no shortage of intrigue for the annual LeClair Classic hosted by East Carolina baseball, and this year’s field is strong yet again with Wright State, Utah and Western Carolina in Greenville for the event.
Some fans also will get to experience buying beer at Clark-LeClair Stadium, beginning today, as part of a new Pirate Club hospitality area in the left-field corner of the stadium. Sales this weekend and for the rest of the season will be limited to ECU baseball season-ticket holders who also are Pirate Club members.
Game 1 of the LeClair Classic between Wright State and Western Carolina will start at 11 a.m. ECU’s opening contest against Utah will start approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.
“This day and age, it’s all about fan experience,” Pirate Club executive director Phillip Wood said earlier this week. “This is another thing that we are adding for the fans, and we don’t know exactly what the impact is going to be. Certainly our goal is to make sure that this doesn’t lose money, and I don’t think that any of us have projected that this is going to be a $250,000 windfall or anything.
“I think this is more centered around fan experience. And it’s a controlled area.”
Beers will be $5 each. Service will stop at the end of the fifth inning, and consumption can occur only in the restricted area.
No. 11-ranked ECU (6-3), which will play Utah today, Wright State on Saturday and conclude Sunday versus Western Carolina, split its midweek games in losing 3-2 to Air Force and then beating Elon 5-3 on Wednesday.
Wright State is one of the more consistent and possibly underrated mid-major programs in the country. The Raiders, who play in the Horizon League, have won at least 38 games each of the last four seasons, highlighted by a 46-17 record in 2016.
They are 2-3 this year, having already played weekend series at Ole Miss and Oklahoma State.
“I hope everybody comes out here, rain or shine, and has a good time,” said Pirate fifth-year coach Cliff Godwin, who played at ECU under coach Keith LeClair, who died from ALS in 2006.
Utah (3-4), which is a Pac-12 member, has been led in the bullpen by freshman right-handers Zac McCleve and Dustyn Schramm.
Western Carolina (5-2) is a frequent participant in the LeClair Classic. LeClair was a WCU alum who coached the Catamounts before coming to ECU to post a 212-96-1 record leading the Pirates from 1998-2002.
Schramm, Utah: Most of the Utes’ games have been low-scoring, and their bullpen has been key. Schramm has pitched 4.1 scoreless innings and possesses the team’s lone save.
Peyton Burdick, Wright State: WSU does not have a home run through five games, but it has allowed a total of nine to its opponents. Burdick, an outfielder, hit nine homers in 2018. This year he has a .313 batting average with five walks, but his lone extra-base hit is a double.
Jack Snyder, Western Carolina: Snyder (0-0, 4.70 ERA) is a junior college transfer who started Game 3 of WCU’s opening weekend series, but since then he has been used out of the bullpen. The Catamounts have used their 11 home runs to counter a 5.61 team ERA.
Bryant Packard, East Carolina: The Pirates’ left fielder and All-American from a year ago will be looking to play a full weekend. He has missed half of the season with a wrist injury, but he played in both midweek contests and was 1-for-3 with a run scored and walk on Wednesday.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.