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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

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.

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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.

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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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June 09, 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.

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June 08, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jim Patterson Stadium scoreboard read during the third inning Saturday that Louisville had six runs on six hits, while East Carolina was scoreless with no hits.

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June 08, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bobby Miller’s fastball-heavy approach against East Carolina on Saturday proved to be nearly unhittable.

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June 07, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tyler Fitzgerald, the No. 3 hitter in the Louisville batting order, finished 4-for-5 on Friday for the first four-hit game of his three-year career with the Cardinals.

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June 07, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The rain was steady during the most important half-inning at Jim Patterson Stadium on Friday, only adding to a dampening day for East Carolina baseball that has the Pirates back in elimination mode during the NCAA tournament.

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June 07, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There were plenty of times last weekend when East Carolina’s baseball players had 5,000 fans cheering for them at Clark-LeClair Stadium and helping them navigate and force their way to an NCAA Greenville Regional championship.

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June 06, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -— Two more wins.

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