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

Super regional is super tough again for ECU

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball
1 of 2

East Carolina players look on as Louisville players celebrate after defeating ECU to win an NCAA super regional at Jim Patterson Stadium on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

APTOPIX NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball
Loading…

BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, June 9, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The thousands of fans in red and the play on the field by Louisville at Jim Patterson Stadium during the NCAA super regional round trumped East Carolina and its hopes of finally breaking through and getting to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series this year.

Instead Omaha will welcome Louisville back to college baseball’s biggest stage, while ECU and its contingent of fans who made the trip to Louisville are left proud of a historic season by the Pirates but a familiar feeling about ending a few wins shy of Omaha.

Louisville beat ECU 12-0 on Saturday afternoon to sweep the super regional in two games and end the Pirates’ season.

“I am going to reflect on how great of a season we had and these kids are hurting,” said Pirate fifth-year head coach Cliff Godwin, who is an ECU alum and played for the Pirates from 1998-2001 under coach Keith LeClair. “I am hurting and just want to be there for my guys.”

Louisville coach Dan McDonnell opened his postgame news conference with insight about ECU and the difficulty of super regional losses.

This was ECU’s 30th season in the NCAA tournament. East Carolina still has the most NCAA appearances without ever making the eight-team College World Series.

“I got to watch a lot of footage of them when they hosted their regional, and I told Cliff this week that, man, that place was rocking and you have it going on there,” said McDonnell, who is in his 13th season at Louisville with a 603-238 record. “ After this game I told him that I know how much it hurts. Unfortunately or fortunately, I’ve been there.

“What his fan base has to understand is that if you are going to live in the world of hosting regionals and being part of super regionals, you are going to have some really tough defeats,” McDonnell said. “No one is immune from that, and that is part of it.”

Attendance for the Cardinals’ 14-1 win on Friday for Game 1 was 2,955. On Saturday it was 4,458 watching as Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse Louisville led 6-0 after three innings and left no doubt as the first team in the country to clinch a spot in Omaha.

Keeping with a college baseball tradition, Louisville’s players stormed out of their dugout after the final out and celebrated with a dogpile on the pitcher’s mound. The Cardinals are heading to the College World Series for the fifth time in their history, the fourth since 2012.

The Cardinals’ celebration was similar to what ECU experienced on the winning end after defeating Campbell twice on Monday to take the Greenville Regional championship at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

“It’s been the world to me, especially last weekend to go out at Clark-LeClair with a dogpile,” fifth-year senior pitcher Evan Voliva said. “That was awesome.”

ECU finished its season with 47 wins and 18 losses, its most wins since 2004.

Season highlights for the Pirates included pitcher Jake Kuchmaner throwing a perfect game at Maryland and ECU winning the Greenville Regional with four wins in two days. East Carolina also set a new American Athletic Conference record with 20 AAC wins during the regular season.

“We didn’t just win the (Greenville) Regional, but we dominated it and were back-to-back regional hosts,” Godwin said. “These kids have done so much for our program and for East Carolina University. They are unbelievable ambassadors.

“Jake Agnos is an All-American on the (pitcher’s) mound and he also is an academic All-American,” he said. “Alec Burleson is an All-American and he’s third-team academic All-American. I could not be happier with where our program is.”

Godwin brought senior representatives Voliva, Turner Brown and Sam Lanier, along with fourth-year junior catcher Jake Washer, to the postgame news conference for them to reflect on their careers.

“I thank Pirate Nation for sticking by our side, through the ups and the downs,” Brown said. “We love this place.”

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»