GREENVILLE, N.C. – Senior first basemen Brandon Henderson will wear East Carolina’s honorary No. 23 jersey during the 2009 season according to an announcement made by Head Coach Billy Godwin during the program’s annual “Meet the Pirates” fan session, which was held inside the Murphy Center Saturday afternoon.
The No. 23 jersey, which was the number worn by the late ECU Head Coach Keith LeClair throughout his coaching and playing career, became an honorary number for the Pirate baseball program in 2003.
Henderson, one of four captains for the Pirates in 2009, set career-highs in almost every offensive category including batting average (.347), home runs (11), RBI (52), runs (52), hits (85), double’s (18) and slugging percentage (.555) a year ago. The left-handed fielding first basemen started all 61 games played and led the Pirates with 503 put outs, which ranks sixth on ECU’s single-season charts.
In last year’s NCAA Regional, the Alpharetta, Ga. native batted .368 (7-for-19) with two home runs, five RBI and collected 15 total bases (fourth most in regional play) on his way to NCAA All-Regional honors. As a three-year letter winner, Henderson has started 138-of-162 games played boasting a .310 career average with 21 home runs, 99 RBIs, 94 runs scored and has roped 33 doubles.
“Brandon has worked very hard in our program and has become a tremendous player,” said Godwin. “He is focused and determined to help our club reach our goal of playing in Omaha. Not only is Brandon a good player, but he is a great ambassador for our program both on and off the field and he exemplifies everything that Coach LeClair was about.”
The number is awarded annually to a deserving player who best displays the hustle, determination and desire that made LeClair a great coach and player.
Henderson becomes the fifth senior to wear the No. 23 jersey and the seventh Pirate overall, following Ben Sanderson (2003), Jamie Paige (2004), Brian Cavanaugh (2005), Adam Witter (2006), Chris Powell (2007) and Drew Schieber a year ago.
LeClair's courageous battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, has garnered support and admiration throughout the ECU community.
The Pirates will open the 2009 season on Feb. 20 when they square off against Monmouth at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium with a first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.