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Godwin: All five draftees turning pro

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East Carolina's Jake Washer, left, taps helmets with Alec Burleson to celebrate a home run against Quinnipiac during the NCAA Greenville Regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, 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, Bryant Packard, Spencer Brickhouse, Jake Washer and Trey Benton. They were all drafted by Major League Baseball clubs last week, beginning with left-handed pitcher Agnos' selection in the fourth round by the New York Yankees before ECU played an NCAA super regional series at Louisville and the Pirates were ousted by the Cardinals the weekend before the College World Series.

"They put us in the national spotlight of very talented players coming to East Carolina," Godwin said of the juniors. "It's been a quick turnaround for those guys, but as of right now, we are expecting all of five of those guys who had eligibility remaining to sign and move on."

Godwin is planning on staying.

He has been pursued by other schools during his five seasons leading the Pirates and has been rumored as an option to fill Florida State's impending void at the end of this season, but he said he has not been contacted by other schools. FSU is headed to the College World Series later this week under college baseball coaching icon Mike Martin, who is retiring this year.

"I've not been contact by anybody and I would like to think that people have a little bit of trust in me," said Godwin, whose career record leading the Pirates is 201-109-1. "I've been pursued a couple times since I've been here and have been here for five years. I haven't wavered from that decision and this place means a lot to me.

"We are working our tails off every single day just to be better and we are in a great place right now with our program."

Washer, a catcher who redshirted his first season at ECU in 2016, had perhaps the most difficult decision to make after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 29th round. Agnos, a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and second-teamer by Baseball America, Brickhouse and Packard all were picked during the first seven rounds on Day 1 of the MLB draft. Benton is recovering from late-season arm surgery and posted on Twitter on Wednesday that he is joining the Cleveland Indians organization after he was selected in the 15th round.

"Washer has graduated and that was the plan," Godwin said. "If he didn't get a shot (to turn pro) then he would have come back, but he has done what he needed to do here and this is his opportunity to go out and play."

The Pirates hit 71 home runs this year, 38 of which came from either Packard, Washer or Brickhouse. Washer led the team with 17.

With Washer gone, ECU will return Seth Caddell at catcher and bring in a few newcomers. Key pitchers slated to return for the 2020 season include Tyler Smith, Jake Kuchmaner, Gavin Williams, Alec Burleson and Ryder Giles.

"I've told our younger guys that the nameplates won't say Agnos, Packard, Benton, Brickhouse, Washer or (departing senior shortstop Turner) Brown, but they will say (Lane) Hoover, (Thomas) Francisco, Caddell and whoever else," Godwin said. "The guys we have coming in are very talented. I think this is as deep of a recruiting class as we have ever had.

"We'll need some guys to step up in leadership roles who were on the team this year. Kuchmaner already is a leader and Burleson has to do even more with being a leader, even though it's tougher for him because he is bouncing back and forth between pitching and hitting. I really want the next team to take on the personality of Kuchmaner and Burleson."

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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