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Hot-hitting Shockers eliminate ECU

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East Carolina head baseball coach Cliff Godwin meets with players on May 18, 2019, during the series against Memphis.

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The Daily Reflector

Friday, May 24, 2019

Wichita State upset top-seeded East Carolina during the first day of the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament, and it was the Shockers again on Friday who convincingly ended the Pirates’ stay in Clearwater, Fla., for the AAC tourney.

Wichita, the No. 8 seed that needed to win on the final day of the regular season to even make the tournament field, eliminated the Pirates with a 12-5 win. Wichita, which swung early and often for hard contact against Jake Kuchmaner, led 11-1 in the third inning and advanced to the semifinal round to face Connecticut.

The Pirates (43-15) now will wait out the weekend and they are still on track to be announced Sunday as an NCAA regional host, but seeding among the 16 regional hosts will not be announced until Monday with the full NCAA bracket. ECU is in the running to be a top-8 national seed, which would also ensure being a super regional host if ECU wins its regional.

But East Carolina couldn’t solve the Shockers (28-30) in Clearwater this week. WSU beat the Pirates 6-2 on Tuesday, which was followed by East Carolina eliminating Houston on Wednesday.

Kuchmaner, an all-conference first-teamer who entered with a 6-1 record and 2.12 ERA, was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits in two-plus innings.

Fifth-year senior Mason O’Brien led the offense for the victors, hitting a grand slam during the second inning and finishing 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double and six RBIs. Wichita State out-hit ECU, 15-14.

“It’s that time of year when you just lock in a little bit more and we want to play as long as we can in this tournament,” O’Brien said during a postgame interview on the American Digital Network. “We’ve known all year that we have a lot of talent and we have a really good team with a lot of tough breaks and things not going our way, but that’s part of baseball and I’m just glad things are coming together for us in this tournament.”

The score was 0-0 when Wichita’s five-run rally in the second inning began with nobody on base and two outs. Six straight batters reached safely, including three singles, O’Brien’s slam and a Paxton Wallace double.

Zach Barnes relieved Kuchmaner during the bottom of the third and he recorded one out while allowing three runs, leaving when it was 11-1 Shockers.

Turner Brown hit a solo home run for the Pirates. Starting designated hitter Jake Washer was 2-for-3.

Starter Liam Eddy struck out seven Pirates with no walks and yielded three runs in 6.1 innings for WSU, which has scored 25 total runs in its three tournament games. The Shockers faced three of the elite pitchers in the league in ECU’s Alec Burleson followed by Connecticut ace Mason Feole and then Kuchmaner.

ECU scored first against Wichita on Tuesday and it was 1-1 in the seventh inning before the Shockers posted a late flurry of runs.

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ECU

June 24, 2019

Prep teams from all over North Carolina and Virginia took the fields at North Recreation Complex on Saturday with bragging rights on the line during East Carolina football’s annual Beast of the East 7-on-7 tournament.

Representing Pitt County was D.H. Conley, which made its mark especially on…

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June 24, 2019

From kicking specialists to soon-to-be Pirate signees to exuberant youngsters and women ready to take the field and play more football, first-year East Carolina coach Mike Houston is using June and July to welcome all kinds of campers to ECU football's facilities and fields.

Last week provided a…

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June 23, 2019

East Carolina baseball athletic trainer Zac Womack was first to receive a call from the Cleveland Indians about ECU injured pitcher Trey Benton, who received the final call from the Indians on June 5 when they drafted him in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

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June 21, 2019

An East Carolina official team spokesman confirmed Friday afternoon that ECU basketball guard Shawn Williams, the American Athletic Conference rookie of the year for 2017-18, entered the NCAA transfer portal.

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June 19, 2019

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June 19, 2019

Each of the four American Athletic Conference basketball teams that participated in the 2019 NCAA tournament will visit Minges Coliseum to play East Carolina during the upcoming season, but talented Memphis is not on ECU’s home schedule.

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June 18, 2019

Slugger Spencer Brickhouse joined two East Carolina baseball teammates this week to give the Pirates three All-Americans in the same season for the first time since 2004, when four Pirates earned All-America status.

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June 11, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky.

East Carolina alum Cliff Godwin was hired as ECU’s 16th head baseball coach on June 25, 2014, and within a week, he and the Pirates received a verbal commitment from a local standout in D.H. Conley High School star hitter Bryant Packard.

In the following weeks and months, ECU…

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June 11, 2019

East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin said Tuesday morning he has not been contacted by Florida State about its coaching vacancy, and he also said that all five ECU juniors who were drafted last are leaving school and pursuing their professional careers.

The juniors leaving are Jake Agnos,…

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June 09, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was a difficult postgame exchange between East Carolina fifth-year baseball coach Cliff Godwin and Louisville 13th year coach Dan McDonnell on Saturday afternoon, much like it was difficult on the Pirates during their two NCAA super regional losses to Louisville to end…

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