East Carolina, already tabbed as the preseason baseball favorite in the American Athletic Conference, received more national recognition this week in checking in at No. 21 in the D1Baseball preseason Top 25 poll.
The Pirates finished with a final No. 13 ranking last season and a 47-18 record. They return some veteran pitchers from that team like Alec Burleson, Jake Kuchmaner, Tyler Smith, Gavin Williams and Cam Colmore.
ECU was the only AAC squad ranked in the publication's preseason poll and part of a slew of teams from the state of North Carolina. Duke led the way at No. 15, followed immediately by N.C. State at 16. Also, Wake Forest was No. 18 and UNC 23rd.
No. 1 was Louisville, which eliminated ECU from the NCAA tournament a year ago in the super regional round. The rest of the top five, in order, was Vanderbilt, Miami, Florida and Georgia. Vandy is the defending national champion.
The Pirates will hold their media day event next week and their first team practice Jan. 24. Their first game is Feb. 14.