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Seniors spark Pirates on diamond

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East Carolina’s Evan Voliva pitches against Utah at Clark-LeClair Stadium on March 2.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Seniors have East Carolina baseball playing with momentum heading into a Top 25 matchup today in Durham against No. 24 Duke.

No. 14 ECU (12-5) went 4-1 last week, highlighted by a 3-2 win at Ole Miss, thanks in part to offensive spark from middle infielders Turner Brown and Brady Lloyd along with solid bullpen work.

Fifth-year senior Evan Voliva had two 2.1-inning outings, the first at Mississippi State and then on Saturday in ECU’s 12-inning victory against Marist, when Voliva allowed one hit in a scoreless stint. Former Friday starter Alec Burleson also made two relief appearances during the week, highlighted by three scoreless frames Saturday with four strikeouts.

“I thought we pitched good, overall, for the entire weekend, and we played good defense,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said.

Voliva, Sam Lanier and Zach Barnes all lead the team with seven relief appearances. Voliva is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA.

Godwin also said Sunday that Jake Kuchmaner will probably not start against Duke. He and Gavin Williams (1-1, 2.57 ERA) have been ECU’s main midweek starting pitchers.

Kuchmaner was just named American Athletic Conference pitcher of the week and was one of Collegiate Baseball’s national players of the week after nearly no-hitting Ole Miss. He went 8.2 innings and threw 106 pitches with nine strikeouts, ending one strike away from the no-hitter.

On offense, Lloyd has a hit in four straight games, and his work in the Pirates’ weekend sweep of Marist included a 3-for-3 performance on Friday. He has upped his season batting average to .288.

Brown, the team’s starting shortstop, hit a home run Saturday and his 3-for-5 game Sunday included two triples to right field.

“The key is just finding ways to win,” Brown said. “Coach Godwin talks all the time that it is really hard to win college baseball games. ... It was awesome for our team to come out and get three wins this weekend.”

In the rankings

Baseball America kept East Carolina at No. 14 on Monday, and Duke is No. 24 after the Blue Devils began their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule by winning two of three at Virginia.

The lone meeting between Duke and ECU in 2018 was a 9-2 victory by the Pirates.

D1baseball.com moved East Carolina up one spot to No. 17, and it does not include Duke in its Top 25.

North Carolina suffered a weekend sweep to Clemson and dropped out of the top-5 in both polls, as far down as No. 15 by D1baseball. Undefeated N.C. State (15-0) is ranked No. 20 by D1baseball and is 21st in the Baseball America Top 25.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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ECU

March 18, 2019

Mike Houston is ready for 8:45 this morning.

The first-year East Carolina football coach was ready for it last week, bringing it up one day before the Pirates even began their first spring practice workout on Friday.

“We’ll start finding it out at about 8:45 on Monday morning, because…

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March 17, 2019

Jake Kuchmaner was one strike away from the 11th no-hitter in East Carolina baseball history on March 6 when he stifled Southeastern Conference powerhouse Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.

He didn’t complete the no-hitter.

On Sunday, he fired the first perfect game in Pirate history.

The left-handed…

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March 16, 2019

East Carolina’s pitching and defense stifled Maryland’s offense for the second straight day, clinching the series at Maryland for the baseball Pirates.

Tyler Smith and Alec Burleson led No. 14 ECU to a 2-1 victory on Saturday, backing up Friday night’s 9-0 decision. The Game 2 win…

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March 16, 2019

East Carolina foot­ball’s attempt for Nate Har­vey to gain an ex­tra year of el­i­gi­bil­ity for this sea­son was de­nied by the NCAA, first-year coach Mike Hous­ton and the Pi­rates an­nounced Satur­day.

Har­vey was seek­ing a…

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March 15, 2019

The process of catching up to first-year East Carolina football coach Mike Houston’s desired speed picked up in intensity Friday morning when the Pirates conducted their first spring practice.

Houston said it was a solid and productive practice, yet he noticed ECU’s team has some bad…

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March 15, 2019

Jake Agnos and East Carolina baseball began their weekend series at Maryland in dominating fashion with a 9-0 victory on Friday night.

Agnos (3-1) pitched seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, no walks, two hit batsmen and six hits allowed for his second straight superb outing on a…

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March 15, 2019

East Carolina basketball’s 73-57 loss to Wichita State in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament in Memphis, Tenn., late Thursday night put an end to the Pirates’ second straight 10-win season.

There was no upset tourney run for the undersized and outmanned…

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March 15, 2019

Wednesday evening at South Central was business as usual for the Falcons’ basketball team. The squad ran drills and practiced ahead of Saturday’s 4-A state championship matchup with West Charlotte.

Working with his team was multi-sport star Jeremy Lewis, who will play in his final high…

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March 15, 2019

After a midweek loss to an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in Duke, East Carolina’s baseball team now travels to a weekend series against a former ACC squad.

Big 10 member Maryland (10-5) welcomes in No. 14 ECU (12-6), beginning a stretch of the Pirates playing four out of five weekend…

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March 14, 2019

Mike Houston was surrounded by new paint schemes and quotes and slogans as he maneuvered around the Ward Building on Thursday morning.

Being in the main football team meeting room got the former winning James Madison coach and first-year Pirate head man in a reminiscent mode, because it brought him…

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