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Plenty of pop left in Brickhouse's bat

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Spencer Brickhouse leads East Carolina this season with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. He hit two homers and totaled five RBIs in the Pirates' last game.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, April 22, 2019

Base hits are vital in baseball, but hitting singles is only a small part of East Carolina first baseman Spencer Brickhouse’s game.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior is a run-producing slugger for the Pirates, and he showed that off in their last game on Saturday in a 9-7 victory over Connecticut to sweep that series at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Brickhouse yanked two long home runs, his 10th and 11th of this season, to right field to highlight his 3-for-4 game with five RBIs. It marked his first multi-hit game since April 6 at Houston, when he also finished 3-for-4 with two homers.

“It comes down to just going up there concentrated and relaxed and trying to do damage to the ball,” Brickhouse said after the sweep of the Huskies, who were one of the few contenders in an American Athletic Conference race being almost completely dictated by the Pirates (29-10, 11-1 AAC) at this point in the season. “Me being a big guy, I feel personally that if I get a single then it is not going to do much for the team. I try to drive in runs and that is something that coach (Cliff Godwin) tried to beat into my head as a freshman is that I’m a run-producer and I need to go up there and fill my role.”

Brickhouse has 31 career home runs. This year he ranks second in the American in slugging percentage (.722) and on-base percentage (.493), and is fourth in home runs.

There was a strong wind blowing out to right field Saturday afternoon, but Brickhouse’s long shots cleared the fence with ease and landed on the ECU football practice fields.

“I don’t think (the wind) would have mattered, and I’m just glad that he was able to get some good swings off,” Godwin said. “People pitch him so tough, like they do (Bryant) Packard and (Alec) Burleson, so they don’t get many pitches like that to hit. When they get them, normally they do damage.”

In the rankings

East Carolina moved up one spot in both of the major polls on Monday, improving to No. 11 in the Baseball America Top 25 and 12th in the D1baseball.com rankings.

N.C. State, which is 2-7 in its last nine games, dropped from No. 9 to 14th in the D1baseball Top 25. North Carolina is No. 16.

The Pac-12 remains a major force, taking up the top three spots in the D1baseball rankings with UCLA followed by Oregon State and Stanford.

Agnos in the AAC

East Carolina ace Jake Agnos earned his third AAC weekly honor of the season when he was named the American’s pitcher of the week on Monday.

The award followed his 8.2-inning outing against Connecticut on Thursday night in which he struck out a career-high 14 batters. He allowed one run on five hits and his only walk came with two outs in the top of the ninth as he was aiming for a complete game.

Agnos, who also was named one of Collegiate Baseball’s national players of the week, leads the American with 91 strikeouts. Memphis hurler Hunter Smith is second with 65.

Scouting the Seahawks

ECU’s five-game week will begin Tuesday with hosting UNC Wilmington at 6:30 p.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

UNCW (20-21) is 3-5 since the Pirates defeated the Seahawks 9-1 in Wilmington on April 9. UNCW won three straight games, but that has been followed by five consecutive losses.

Hofstra just swept UNCW in Hempstead, N.Y., taking Sunday’s game 9-8 by offsetting the Seahawks’ 14-9 advantage in hits with four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off pitcher Henry Ryan.

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

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