Loading...
BYH: To the city of Greenville. You spend dollars promoting uptown Greenville to draw many in. Now you want to drive...

Emotion plays into Pirate sweep

032419ECUbaseball-5.JPG
1 of 2

East Carolina reliever Zach Barnes celebrates a strikeout against UCF at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Saturday.

032419ECUbaseball-9.JPG
Loading…

BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, March 25, 2019

The start of American Athletic Conference play brought about emotional responses and intense moments during the UCF-East Carolina baseball weekend series at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

From Matthew Mika’s long, drawn-out bat flip for the visiting Knights on Friday night to ECU closing out a sweep Sunday in a tight game, players were aware of the importance of outcomes.

ECU (18-6) led by one run during the ninth inning of the finale when pitcher Alec Burleson fielded a bunt with one out and retired Ray Alejo trying to slide in at home plate for the tying run. As shortstop Turner Brown drifted into shallow left field to catch a pop-up for the final out in the 6-5 victory, Brown and Burleson both were demonstrative in their emotions of securing the sweep.

“I let my pitching talk for itself and did get a little emotional right there at the end, but that’s the game of baseball,” Burleson said. “The more you show emotion, the more you are into it. ... I obviously wanted to go out there in the crucial innings and be able to pull through for my team, so I was glad to be able to do that.”

No Pirate starter pitched past the fifth inning, but the bullpen was solid in preserving late leads in all three games.

Evan Voliva and Burleson collected saves on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Zach Barnes produced a clutch strikeout Saturday, and Sunday’s bullpen work included 1.2 scoreless innings by Sam Lanier.

“It was a really a gutsy performance by our entire pitching staff, because none of those guys probably felt fresh but were able to go out there,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said Sunday.

The Pirates do not have a midweek game until hosting Duke on April 3.

ECU was in the 50s late last week in the RPI rankings and moved up to No. 33 on Monday.

In the rankings

East Carolina made a jump to No. 14 in the D1baseball.com rankings on Monday and also moved up one spot to No. 13 in the Baseball America Top 25.

UCLA remained No. 1 in both polls. ECU was the only AAC team to record a league opening-weekend sweep and is still the only American team ranked nationally.

“Winning these three games was huge and being 3-0 instead of 2-1, so it helps you out for the long run,” Brown said of sweeping the Knights (15-9).

N.C. State (23-1) continued to raise its national profile with a weekend sweep at Miami. The Wolfpack is now ranked No. 5 in both major polls.

The D1baseball top five is UCLA followed by Mississippi State, Stanford, Georgia and N.C. State. North Carolina is No. 16.

A first for Brickhouse

Spencer Brickhouse’s hitting during the UCF sweep garnered him a first-career American Athletic Conference player of the week nod on Monday.

The junior first baseman/left fielder batted .500 (6-for-12) for the weekend with a pair of home runs, eight RBIs and five runs scored. His three-run homer was the big hit in Saturday’s 7-4 victory, and he hit a key solo shot Sunday.

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

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

August 20, 2019

No more waiting for Holton Ahlers or the rest of the East Carolina football team or Pirate fans.

With next Saturday’s noon kickoff at N.C. State getting closer and closer, first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston officially announced after Tuesday’s practice that Ahlers will be his…

082119_gdr_ecufootball-8.jpg

August 20, 2019

Quarterback Holton Ahlers led East Carolina’s football team in rushing last season with 592 yards and six touchdowns on 119 carries.

New offensive principles are in place at ECU under a new coaching staff, leading to some intrigue about Ahlers and his run availability. Would this staff, led…

081819_gdr_ecumedia-4.jpg

August 19, 2019

East Carolina first-year football coach Mike Houston described the Pirates' No. 1 center, Branden Pena, as a "tough joker" on Saturday.

The football-centric praise showed how far the relationship has come between Pena and Houston since December.

"Branden Pena is a guy that I didn't know his name…

081819_gdr_ecumedia-6.jpg

August 17, 2019

Moments of reflection Saturday brought East Carolina first-year head football coach Mike Houston back to the spring.

The physicality he saw Saturday during the Pirates' final preseason scrimmage was vastly different from the spring Purple-Gold Game.

Darius Pinnix displayed his punishing rushing…

081819_gdr_ecumedia-10.jpg

August 17, 2019

East Carolina’s football players were asked about their favorite ice cream flavor Saturday and they got the opportunity to pick on teammates, but there also were serious questions pointed their way about the Aug. 31 opener at N.C. State and the rest of an important season for the Pirates…

081819_gdr_ecumedia-15.jpg

August 17, 2019

In an exhibition match defined by defense, Jenna Dages scored the only goal for the East Carolina women’s soccer team to top VCU 1-0 on Friday night inside Johnson Stadium.

Dages’ goal came at the 45:34 mark. From there, goalie Meaghan Haley and ECU's defense helped to maintain the lead.…

082018ECUsoccer-4.jpg

August 17, 2019

Here are five East Carolina football players who have stepped up during preseason camp and will be looking to continue their momentum when the Pirates complete camp with a scrimmage Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:

1. Xavier Smith, linebacker: Smith has kind of quietly morphed from a tight end…

111818ECUfootball-24.jpg

August 16, 2019

East Carolina’s football practice Friday morning ended with center Branden Pena snapping to quarterback Holton Ahlers in the victory formation, and then the Pirates celebrated. Kicker Jake Verity also made a 57-yard field goal during a late-game sequence.

On the day before an important…

081119_gdr_ecufootball-13.jpg

August 16, 2019

Jayda Hylton-Pelaia has played countless soccer matches in Canada and the United States, impressing plenty of observers with her fluid dribbling and defensive skills.

Her effect on American Athletic Conference coaches was felt Tuesday when she was named AAC preseason defensive player of the year,…

Jayda 6.jpg

August 15, 2019

Bruce Bivens is as vocal as ever on the East Carolina football defense, which can both excite and worry first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston.

Bivens' voice is important and it carries now in the middle of ECU's defense as he approaches his junior season and his second year as a starting inside…

081119_gdr_ecufootball-9.jpg
172 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»