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Array of arms available vs. UCF

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East Carolina pitcher Jake Agnos, left, talks with coach Cliff Godwin during a practice this season.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, March 22, 2019

East Carolina should have a full arsenal of pitchers rested and ready for its first American Athletic Conference baseball series of this weekend.

No. 14 ECU did not play against UNC Wilmington on Wednesday because of rain. Gavin Williams was scheduled to start, but missing that game could allow him and Alec Burleson to be available out of the bullpen this weekend versus UCF to complement the Pirates’ likely starting trio of Jake Agnos, Tyler Smith and Jake Kuchmaner.

ECU also does not have a midweek game next week.

Pitching and defense paced the Pirates (15-6) last weekend in their sweep at Maryland, giving the team a 7-1 record in eight games heading into the matchup against the Knights and their matching 15-6 record.

“We are going to focus on each day as a separate entity and just try to continue to build on the momentum of what we had from the past weekend,” ECU coach Cliff Godwin said before a practice this week.

The AAC preseason poll was led by the Pirates in first place. UCF was fourth.

In addition to the quality pitching in Maryland the Pirates received from Agnos, Smith and Kuchmaner, who tossed ECU’s first-ever perfect game, combined with scoreless relief work by Zach Barnes, Evan Odum and Burleson, ECU did not commit a defensive error all weekend. In all, the Pirates outscored the Terrapins 14-1 to sweep the series.

“You are talking about 27 innings of work without an error and a lot of web gems,” Godwin said. 

UCF is 5-1 in its last six games. The Knights already have midweek victories at Florida and Florida State, the latter coming Tuesday when three different Knights recorded at least two RBIs in a 9-7 win.

First baseman Tyler Osik was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, upping his season batting average to .390. Ray Alejo (.336) and Dallas Beaver each have four home runs this year.

Connecticut and UCF are the only AAC teams with top-25 RPI rankings. UCF was the leader Thursday at No. 18, UConn No. 21 and the Pirates were 52nd.

WEEKEND WATCH

Jeffrey Hakanson, UCF: Hakanson is tied for the American lead with five saves, and his 25 strikeouts in 12.2 innings are certainly noteworthy. The right-hander also has shown some vulnerability in giving up eight runs and three home runs, equaling a 5.68 ERA in his 10 relief appearances.

Jake Kuchmaner, East Carolina: This is the easy choice after last Sunday, when the sophomore lefty spun the first perfect game in Pirate history. He comes into the weekend with a 2-0 record, 1.48 ERA, 28 strikeouts and five walks in 30.1 innings.

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

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ECU

April 20, 2019

A nontraditional baseball setting Saturday morning at Clark-LeClair Stadium gave way to a familiar theme of East Carolina winning American Athletic Conference series.

ECU defeated Connecticut 5-2 in a seven-inning game to begin Saturday’s doubleheader, improving to 10-1 in AAC action behind a…

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April 19, 2019

East Carolina pitcher Jake Agnos and coach Cliff Godwin had a heated exchange on the pitcher’s mound during the ninth inning Thursday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium, which turned into a more calm and productive conversation between the pair a few minutes later after ECU completed a 5-1 win…

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April 18, 2019

Jeff Hoffman wowed plenty of professional baseball scouts at East Carolina from 2012 to 2014 before he was selected as the ninth overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.

It was Jake Agnos’ turn at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Thursday, when about 30 scouts were packed into their…

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April 18, 2019

A pre­mier matchup on the pitcher’s mound should high­light Game 1 of the Con­necti­cut-East Carolina base­ball se­ries, which be­gins to­day at 6:30 p.m. and ends Satur­day at Clark-LeClair Sta­dium.

Jake Ag­nos has been the ace for the…

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April 17, 2019

When Cincinnati eliminated East Carolina in the first round of the American Athletic Conference women’s tennis tournament on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., it marked the Pirates’ first loss since Jan. 23 and ended their season.

The Bearcats won 4-1 and advanced as the No. 10 seed to play…

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April 16, 2019

East Carolina smashed a couple of home runs in a five-run first inning at Elon on Tuesday night, then added another in the eighth en route to a 9-4 rout of the Phoenix in non-conference baseball action.

Hot-hitting Spencer Brickhouse opened the scoring by bashing his ninth homer of the season, a…

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April 16, 2019

When East Carolina linebacker Aaron Ramseur showed up late for the first team meeting of spring practice, he and the rest of the Pirate football team got an early idea of how much things were about to change under new head coach Mike Houston.

When he arrived late for the 7 a.m. meeting, Ramseur,…

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April 16, 2019

How student-athletes spend their monthly scholarship money, their freedoms when living off campus and East Carolina University’s facilities all are factors as the school plans to implement an athletic-specific dining area in the future.

ECU student-athletes who are on full…

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April 15, 2019

East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin heard during the Pirates’ weekend series at No. 1 UCLA that it felt like an NCAA super regional.

The Bruins swept ECU with all three games decided by three runs or less, only strengthening their resume as college baseball’s best team but…

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April 15, 2019

Coach Mike Houston said after Saturday’s spring Purple-Gold Game that today will be a big day for he and his staff to evaluate the entire East Carolina football roster, keeping in mind that more players will be added to the mix for preseason camp.

Cuts will likely be made and the very early…

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