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Wave in Greenville for pivotal AAC series

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East Carolina's Bryant Packard (18) looks to the home dugout after hitting one of his three doubles against UNC Wilmington at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Tuesday.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, April 26, 2019

The East Carolina baseball team hasn’t lost a home game since a 12-4 defeat to projected NCAA regional squad Wright State on March 2.

Next up to test the 11th-ranked Pirates’ streak of 12 straight wins at Clark-LeClair Stadium will be Tulane this weekend in a series that is sure to have a major impact on who wins the American Athletic Conference regular-season championship. Below ECU (31-10, 11-1) and Tulane (26-14, 8-3) and tied for third place in the AAC standings are Houston and Cincinnati, both at 8-7.

ECU, which is on a six-game win streak overall after Wednesday’s 10-7 victory at Old Dominion, is 19-3 at home this season. The Green Wave is 5-5 in away games.

“It can be really easy to play behind this crowd,” Pirate All-American outfielder Bryant Packard said after Tuesday’s 8-5 win over rival UNC Wilmington at Clark-LeClair Stadium. “We definitely have a home-field advantage, and winning at home keeps the fans coming.” 

First pitch tonight is scheduled for 6:30. The teams will likely play a doubleheader Saturday if inclement weather prevents Game 1 to be played today.

The big bat for Tulane, which ranks second in the nation in home runs (67) and has outscored its opponents by a total count of 354-243, is junior third baseman Kody Hoese. He hit his nation-leading 21st home run of the season and collected his 52nd RBI when he went 2-for-4 on Tuesday in the Wave’s 10-3 loss to Southeastern Louisiana.

Hoese also is first in the AAC in batting average (.417) and runs scored with 57.

Looking to slow him and the rest of Tulane’s high-powered offense in Game 1 will be Pirate ace Jake Agnos, whose prowess in his last four starts gives him a 5-2 record, 2.85 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 60 innings for the season. The left-handed junior was one out short of a complete game last Friday against Connecticut at Clark-LeClair, striking out a career-high 14 batters while allowing one run on five hits in 8.2 innings.

The Pirates have the best team ERA in the league with a 3.43 mark. On offense, Tulane is first in batting average (.310) and East Carolina is second at .289.

ECU used a total of nine relief pitchers during its midweek wins over UNCW and Old Dominion. Cam Colmore and Alec Burleson pitched in each game, highlighted by Burleson getting the save Tuesday and then starting and throwing four innings and 59 pitches for the mound victory versus ODU.

WEEKEND WATCH

Trevor Jensen,Tulane: Jensen is a huge part of the Green Wave offense, serving as the leadoff hitter directly in front of Hoese in the No. 2 spot. Jensen has seven home runs, and Hudson Haskin (.378, five HRs) also is a top-three hitter in the lineup.

Turner Brown, East Carolina: The Pirates’ senior shortstop has a history of sneaking in clutch hits in big games. He was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI against Old Dominion.

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

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