GREENVILLE, N.C. - Thirty-five home games at Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the Sixth-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2009 East Carolina baseball schedule announced Thursday afternoon by head baseball coach Billy Godwin.
Nineteen teams on this year’s docket recorded 30 or more wins a season ago with nine of them topping the 40-win plateau; 11 schools earned a bid to participate in the NCAA Regional in 2008 with a pair making it to the College World Series, while four finished ranked in the Baseball America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Top 25 polls.
The Pirates will open the 2009 campaign on Friday, Feb. 20 against Monmouth in a three-game tilt and will stay home for their next five games, which includes a midweek match-up with Oklahoma State (Feb. 26), the LeClair Classic (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) and Old Dominion (Mar. 3).
Conference USA play opens March 20 for the Pirates when they welcome league foe UCF to town for a three-game series. Other C-USA schools making the trek to Greenville in 2009 include 2008 College World Series participant and C-USA regular season champion Rice (Apr. 10-12), Southern Miss (Apr. 24-26) and Memphis (May 14-16).
League road trips include Marshall (Mar. 27-29), UAB (Apr. 3-5), Tulane (Apr. 17-19) and 2008 C-USA Tournament Champion Houston (May 8-10).
ECU’s home non-conference schedule is highlighted by the annual Keith LeClair Classic that pits the Pirates against St. John’s (Feb. 27), Oklahoma State (Feb. 28) and College of Charleston (Mar. 1). Also scheduled for weekend series’ in Greenville are 2008 NCAA Regional participants UCLA (Mar. 13-15) and Louisiana-Lafayette (May 1-3), while UNC-Asheville (Mar. 10-11) comes to town for a pair of weekday contests.
The Pirates will have a home-and-home series against Campbell (Mar. 24 and Apr. 14), Elon (Mar. 28, Apr. 21 and 28), North Carolina (Apr. 7 and 22), N.C. State (Apr. 1 and 15) and UNC-Wilmington (Mar. 25, Apr. 8 and May 12), while also matching up against Norfolk State (Mar. 18). Their lone non-conference weekend trip takes them to Statesboro, Ga. to participate in Georgia Southern’s annual baseball tournament with games against Le Moyne (Mar. 6), Indiana (Mar. 7) and the Eagles (Mar. 8).
“Once again we have been able to put together another great schedule,” said Godwin. “Our 35 home games will allow our fans to see some of the top college baseball programs both regionally and nationally. Our players came to ECU to play on a national stage, and with the tough competition in Conference USA and our non-conference schedule, they will be do just that on a weekly basis.”
The Pirates, who finished 42-21 and made their ninth NCAA Regional appearance in the last 10 years, return 22 lettermen from a squad that reached the Conway Regional finals a year ago.