GREENVILLE, N.C. – Thirty-one home games at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the 15th-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2018 ECU baseball schedule announced Tuesday by fourth-year head coach Cliff Godwin.
The 2018 state features 17 games against seven teams that earned a bid to the 2017 NCAA Regionals, 31 against squads with 30-plus wins (19 with 35-plus, 13 with 40 or more wins) and 15 that finished ranked or received votes in the final national polls.
ECU will play 18 of its first 28 games at Clark-LeClair Stadium including its first American Athletic Conference series with new member Wichita State (Mar. 29-31). For the first time in program history, the Pirates will play a three-game weekend series against North Carolina (Feb. 23-25) with contests being played in Greenville, Durham (Durham Bulls Athletic Park) and Chapel Hill.
“Our 2018 schedule will be challenging and exciting,” Godwin said. “The American Athletic Conference is one of the best baseball conferences in the country and you are tested each weekend to play your best. The combination of playing in one of the toughest conferences along with our quality non-conference schedule will prepare us for postseason play. Pirate Nation, let’s make sure to pack Clark-LeClair Stadium this year!”
The Pirates open the 2018 season hosting Western Carolina (Feb. 16-18). Other home non-conference series include College of Charleston (March 6-7) and Maryland (March 16-18), while hosting single-game contests against Old Dominion (Feb. 28), VCU (March 13), Wofford (April 4) and Norfolk State (May 8). ECU will also host Pepperdine, Missouri State and St. Joseph’s in the annual LeClair Classic (March 2-4).
ECU will play a pair of road non-conference series at Charlotte (March 9-11) and Washington (April 6-7) as well as single games at Duke (April 17) and NC State (April 24).
In American action, ECU opens on the road at UCF (March 23-25) and will also travel to Memphis (April 20-22), Tulane (May 4-6) and Connecticut (May 17-19). Along with Wichita State, the Pirates will have home series with USF (April 13-15), Houston (April 27-29) and Cincinnati (May 11-13).
ECU will square off in non-conference tests with home-and-home series against Campbell, Elon and UNC Wilmington.
Once again The American Championships will be held at Spectrum Field (May 22-27) in Clearwater, Fla., home of the Clearwater Threshers, which is the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
During his three years at the helm of the program, Godwin has guided ECU to a pair of NCAA Regional berths, a Super Regional appearance, an American Athletic Conference Tournament title and a 110-72-1 (.604) overall record. Five players have earned All-America honors, five were named to the Charlottesville All-Regional Team, eight took home all-conference honors (eight first-teamers), nine were selected as American Player-of-the-Week, while three were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
ECU returns 20 letterwinners, including 2016 Freshman All-American Dwanya Williams-Sutton, 2017 Freshman All-American Spencer Brickhouse and 2017 AAC All-Tournament Team selection Jake Agnos. In all, the roster consists of 11 freshmen, 10 sophomores, 11 juniors and four seniors.
Also stepping onto the diamond are 16 newcomers, a group that consists of two infielders (Connor Litton and Collin Watt), three outfielders (Chandler Jenkins, Josh Netterville and Jeremy Whitehead), two catchers (Seth Caddell and Spencer Smith), one utility player (Bryson Worrell), one two-way player (Alec Burleson), and seven pitchers (Zach Barnes, Cole Beavin, Austin Covers, Noah Jones, Jake Kuchmaner, Willy Strong and Gavin Williams). Recently the 2017-18 recruiting class garnered a pair of Top 25 national rankings by Baseball America (No. 19) and D1Baseball (No. 20).