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Pirates respond, rout at AAC tourney

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Jake Agnos follows through on a pitch last week against Memphis at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

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The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

With its record-breaking pitching ace on the mound, East Carolina’s baseball team got back on track Wednesday at the American Athletic Conference tournament to set up an off day.

Top-seeded ECU cruised in an elimination game on Wednesday afternoon, defeating No. 5 seed Houston 13-2 to remain in Clearwater, Fla., and play either Connecticut or Wichita State in another elimination contest on Friday. No. 8 Wichita State beat the Pirates 6-2 on Tuesday to surprisingly drop ECU (43-14) to the losers’ bracket.

But it was all Pirates in their second postseason outing.

They never trailed against Houston (32-24), scoring in the top of the first inning and gaining a 9-1 lead after a five-run rally in the sixth.

Jake Agnos, the ECU and American single-season record-holder for strikeouts, pitched seven innings to improve his season record to 10-2 with a 2.00 ERA. The left-hander worked around four walks with seven strikeouts and a run allowed on four hits.

“Our guys were really locked in today,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said during his postgame interview on the American Digital Network. “When we show up and we have that mindset to play with a lot of energy and just compete our tails off, a lot of times we win. If we come out and just kind of show up then we can be beat and anybody can beat us, and Wichita State played a lot better than us yesterday.”

Agnos’ battery mate, catcher Jake Washer, hit two solo home runs. He passed Spencer Brickhouse for the team lead with 13.

Consecutive long shots to right field with two outs in the third inning staked the Pirates a 4-1 cushion. Bryant Packard was on base after he was hit by a pitch when Alec Burleson pulled a homer to right field, followed by Washer’s first solo shot to make it 4-1.

Washer finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Hot-hitting freshman designated hitter Thomas Francisco was 3-for-3 with a double.

UH, a usual league title contender, went 0-2 in the American tourney for the first time. UConn beat Houston, 4-3, on Tuesday.

Following Agnos on the mound was Cam Colmore, who yielded a run and got one out, and Zach Barnes for the final 1.2 innings.

The Pirates still have not used weekend starters Jake Kuchmaner or Tyler Smith. Burleson started and threw 100 pitches versus Wichita State.

Wednesday at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Durham saw Louisville lose and Georgia Tech win in pool play. Those teams are joined by ECU and others trying to secure top-eight national seeds for the NCAA bracket.

The Cougars manufactured a run in the bottom of the second when Brad Burckel came home on a wild pitch to stop Agnos’ scoreless streak at 32.2 innings. Agnos had three strikeouts and three walks through the first two frames, when it was 1-1.

The first inning featured Washer hitting an RBI single for the Pirates, who then got a big strikeout by Agnos in the bottom half of the frame. A walk loaded the bases with two outs, but Agnos fanned Blake Way to keep ECU up 1-0.

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Humans of Greenville

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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