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Hot-hitting Shockers eliminate ECU


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


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.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


June 11, 2019


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…

NCAA East Carolina Louisville Baseball

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,…


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…

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

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.


NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

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.

If Friday’s rout by the Cardinals was not enough of a sign, it became official Saturday that ECU’s…

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

June 08, 2019

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

For eight innings, it was unhittable.

Louisville baseball advanced to the College World Series, ended East Carolina’s season and Miller led a shutout of the…

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

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.

No hit was more important than his RBI double during a four-run fourth inning that completely changed the…

NCAA East Carolina Louisville Baseball

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.

After having its first 10 batters retired in…

NCAA East Carolina Louisville Baseball

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.

It will be different this weekend,…


June 06, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -— Two more wins.

It is a historical and even monumental task for any East Carolina team at this point in the NCAA baseball tournament, but the Pirates are back in a super regional, and this team is tasked with winning a best-of-three super regional series at Louisville…

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