GREENVILLE, N.C. - Thirty-two home games at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the Ninth-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2012 East Carolina baseball schedule announced Tuesday afternoon by head baseball coach Billy Godwin.
The 2012 slate features 16 games against teams that earned a bid to the 2010 NCAA Regionals; 36 against teams with 30-plus wins, nine that topped the 40-plus win plateau and nine that finished ranked in the national polls.
ECU will open play on Friday, Feb. 17 at home against UW Milwaukee in a three-game tilt before making a midweek trip to Old Dominion. After playing six-straight contests at home, the Pirates will travel to the state of Alabama for four games, three against post-season teams from a year ago. The Spring Break trip features a midweek clash against Troy on Wednesday, March 7 before heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to participate in the Alabama Baseball Tournament, where they will square off against host Alabama on March 9, followed by Oral Roberts (Mar. 10) and Louisville (Mar. 11).
The Pirates’ home non-conference schedule is highlighted by the annual Keith LeClair Classic, which pits ECU against Purdue (Feb. 24), Western Carolina (Feb. 25) and Maryland (Feb. 26). Also scheduled to make a trip to Greenville are Stony Brook (Mar. 2-4), Penn State (Mar. 16-18) and William & Mary (Apr. 18).
Conference USA play opens on March 23 when the Pirates travel to UCF for a three-game series. Other C-USA road games on the docket are Memphis (Apr. 13-15), Rice (Apr. 20-22) and Southern Miss (May 11-13). League home games include UAB (Mar. 30-Apr. 1), Houston (Apr. 5-7), Tulane (Apr. 27-29) and Marshall (May 4-6).
”We are playing a very challenging schedule that will test our team throughout the season,” said Godwin. “Playing in Conference USA, our players get to see some of the best teams in the country on a yearly basis. We will face eight teams that made the post-season from a year ago, including two that were national seeds. Those games, along with our in-state rivals, gives our team a chance to play on a college baseball’s biggest stage.”
Along with NCAA Regional participants North Carolina (Apr. 25 and May 9) and N.C. State (Mar. 20 and Mar. 27), ECU will have home-and-home series against Old Dominion (Feb. 22 and Apr. 11), VCU (Mar.13 and May 19), High Point (Mar. 21 and May 15), UNC Wilmington (Apr. 3 and Apr. 17) and Elon (Apr. 10 and May 8). The Pirates will also play a neutral site game against VMI in Richmond, Va. on May 18.
The annual C-USA Tournament is set for May 23-27 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., the AA minor league home of the Atlanta Braves.
Coming off its 11th NCAA Regional appearance in the last 13 seasons, ECU welcomes back 21 letterwinners including 2011 Second-Team All-Conference USA performers Kevin Brandt and Zach Wright. Joining Brandt and Wright are All C-USA performers Ben Fultz (freshman team/ '11), Chase McDonald (freshman team/ '11), Corey Thompson (second-team/ '10 and all-tournament/ '11), Jack Reinheimer (freshman team/ '11) and John Wooten (freshman team/ '11). The trio of Fultz, McDonald and Wooten were also named to the Charlottesville All-Regional Team a year ago.
Also stepping onto the diamond are 12 new faces, which consist of junior college transfers Jay Cannon (Brunswick), Jharel Cotton (Miami Dade), Sam King (Eastern Oklahoma State) and Andy Smithmyer (Potomac State), as well as eight true freshmen: John Allen, Tyler Bolton, Dylan Dickens, Ryan Gupton, Jeff Hoffman, Deshorn Lake, David Lucroy and Nick Thompson.
Season tickets will be made available to Pirate fans starting the week of December 5. For additional season ticket information, log on to www.ECUPirates.com or contact the ECU Athletic Ticket Office at (252) 737-4500.