Following its eighth NCAA Regional appearance in the last nine years, East Carolina Head Baseball Coach Billy Godwin guided the 2008 Pirates through a spirited three-and-a-half-hour work out to open fall practice today at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
"It feels like we never stepped off the field," said Godwin of his first practice. "We jumped right out there and picked right up where we left off. Today was just about introducing the new guys into our routine and working on the basic fundamentals of the game."
The Pirates, who finished with a 40-23 overall record in 2007, welcomed back 16 letterwinners including All Conference USA performers Harrison Eldridge and T.J. Hose; C-USA All-Freshman Team selection Kyle Roller and Chapel Hill Regional All-Tournament selections Stephen Batts, Corey Kemp and Jamie Ray.
Also stepping onto the diamond were 11 new faces, which comprised of transfers Justin Bristow (Auburn University) and Daniel Holder (Lurleen Wallace State College), as well as nine freshmen: Cameron Freeman, Matthew Hancock, Dustin Harrington, Matthew Laney, Seth Maness, Brad Mincey, Seth Simmons, Sthil Sowers and Trent Whitehead.
A trio of Pirates have already started picking up some preseason national recognition as Batts, Roller and Ryan Wood were all named to Baseball America's top prospects list for 2008.
Batts, who will enter the 2008 season on a 29-game hitting streak, was ranked as the fourth-best prospect from the Coastal Plain League (CPL). Roller, who tied for the team lead a year ago with 11 home runs, was tabbed as the seventh-best prospect from the CPL. Wood, a 6-4 infielder, played his summer ball in the Valley League and was rated as the seventh-best prospect.
The Pirates will continue fall workouts until Tuesday, Oct. 9 when they will play their annual three-game Purple-Gold World Series.