CLEARWATER, Fla. (ECU) – Fifth-year head coach Cliff Godwin has been named American Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year, while ECU junior Jake Agnos was tabbed Pitcher-of-the-Year according to an announcement by the league office Monday afternoon.
The Pirates also had six first-team all-conference selections in Agnos, DH Spencer Brickhouse, OF Alec Burleson, LHP Jake Kuchmaner, OF Bryant Packard (unanimous) and C Jake Washer, while Brickhouse (1B), SS Turner Brown and Burleson (UTIL) garnered second-team All-AAC accolades.
With the six first-team selections, the Pirates have had at least one player named to a first-team for 16-straight years (2004-present). Since joining The American in 2015, ECU has had 15 different first-team all-conference members in Reid Love (2015), Luke Lowery (2015), Evan Kruczynski (2016), Dwanya Williams-Sutton (2016), Eric Tyler (2017), Travis Watkins (2017), Charlie Yorgen (2017), Brickhouse (2018-19), Chris Holba (2018), Brady Lloyd (2018) and Packard (2018-19). Packard is the first two-time unanimous pick and the fifth overall joining Love (2015), Yorgen (2017) and Holba (2018).
After guiding ECU to a 42-13 record and the AAC regular season title, Godwin is just the second Pirate skipper to claim multiple coach-of-the-year honors joining his college head coach Keith LeClair, who earned consecutive honors in 1999 and 2000 in the Colonial Athletic Association. With his selection, Godwin, who took home the 2015 coaching accolade, is the fifth coach to earn top honors joining Monte Little (Southern Conference, 1977), Gary Overton (Colonial Athletic Association, 1990), LeClair (Colonial Athletic Association, 1999 & 2000), Randy Mazey (Conference USA, 2004) and Billy Godwin (Conference USA, 2009).
Agnos becomes the third Pirate to earn pitcher-of-the-year honors following Greg Bunn (2004) and Seth Maness (2010) both in Conference USA. The lefty closed out the regular season posting a 9-2 record with a 2.06 ERA and set the ECU and American single-season marks with 124 strikeouts. He has combined on five shutouts and has allowed 22 runs (19 earned) in 83.0 innings of work. A four-time AAC Pitcher-of-the-Week selection, Agnos has recorded double-digit strikeouts in a contest five times with a career-high 14 against UConn in a personal-best 8.2 innings on April 18. He was named to the Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List and is a semifinalist for the College Baseball Foundation’s National Pitcher-of-the-Year Award. Agnos enters the 2019 AAC Championships riding a 31.0 scoreless inning streak and stands ninth nationally in strikeouts (124) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.45).
Brickhouse earned his second-straight first-team designation as a designated hitter and was also tabbed as a second-teamer at first base. The junior from Zebulon, N.C. is batting .339 (58-for-171) with 12 home runs, 51 RBI and 50 runs scored. He has registered at least one hit in 37 of 50 games, while leading the team with 15 multi-RBI games and is third with 16 multi-hit contests. Brickhouse has tallied seven game-winning RBI to lead the club (four in league play) and has drawn a team-best 41 walks.
Brown grabbed his first career all-conference honor with his second-team selection during his senior year. The Whiteville, N.C. native has started all 55 games at shortstop where he is hitting at a .300 clip (57-for-190) with 28 RBI and 33 runs scored. To go along with his two home runs, he has added 10 doubles and a pair of triples with the later tying an ECU single-game record against Marist (March 10). Brown has registered at least one hit in 35 games, while tallying 15 multi-hit and five multi-RBI contests. He currently leads the team in stolen bases and hit by pitches, while standing second in assists.
Burleson picked up first-team honors as an outfielder and was selected to the second-team as a utility player. The Denver, N.C. native was a three-time AAC Player-of-the-Week selection and a two-time honor roll member. The two-way standout is a semifinalist for the 2019 John Olerud Player-of-the-Year Award and was named to a pair of Midseason All-America Teams (D1Baseball, Perfect Game). At the plate, Burleson is batting a team-best .368 (77-for-209) with eight home runs, 51 RBI and has scored 33 runs. He also leads the club with 20 doubles and 25 multi-hit games, while standing second with 13 multi-RBI games. On the bump, he sports a 5-1 record with five saves and a 3.18 ERA in 20 appearances (six starts). The lefty has struck out 51 batters while walking 17 in 45.1 innings and has held opposing hitters to a .231 composite batting average. Burleson earned his 10th career win at No. 12 UNC (May 8) and struck out a career-best 10 batters in his second start of the season against Monmouth (Feb. 23). Overall in the field, he sports a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 166 putouts and 25 assists.
Kuchmaner earned his first career all-conference accolade after being named a first-team selection. The lefty owns a 6-1 record in 14 appearances (12 starts) with a 2.12 ERA. He tossed the 28th perfect game in NCAA DI history at Maryland (March 17) just a week after no-hitting No. 9 Ole Miss through 8.2 innings on the road. He has worked into the seventh inning five times, eight on four occasions and nine three times. Kuchmaner has fanned at least six batters in a game eight times with a career-best nine coming at Ole Miss. He swept league and national honors in consecutive weeks (March 11 and March 17) and was named to the College Baseball Foundation’s National Pitcher-of-the-Year Watch List in early April. Currently he ranks 14th nationally in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.47) and WHIP (0.92).
Packard garnered his second-straight unanimous first-team selection in the outfield. The Greenville, N.C. native is batting .361 (66-for-183) on the season with six home runs, 35 RBI and 49 runs scored. He currently stands second on the team in doubles (18) and multi-hit games (20), while ranking fourth with six multi-RBI contests. Packard, who set the ECU and AAC record a year ago with his 32-game hitting streak, enters the 2019 AAC Championships riding a 32-game on-base streak – the longest of the season by a Pirate. He has registered at least one hit in 36 of 46 games, scored a run in 30 contests and has 11 multi-run games on the year. In the field, he sports a .981 fielding percentage with 50 putouts and three outfield assists.
Washer rounds out this year’s all-conference selections as he was named a first-teamer behind the plate. The King, N.C. native has set personal-best marks in home runs (10), RBI (42) and slugging percentage (.512) during his junior campaign. He is hitting at a .285 clip (49-for-172) with nine doubles, 15 multi-hit and 10 multi-RBI games. Washer has started 40 of 46 games behind the plate and has tied his career-high with a pair of four-RBI contests at No. 12 North Carolina (May 8) and against Memphis (May 16). A 2019 Buster Posey Watch List candidate, he has registered at least one hit in 32 of 49 games, plated at least one run in 24 contests and has managed a pitching staff that sports a 3.55 ERA (20th nationally).
The Pirates (42-13) will open the 2018 American Baseball Championships on Tuesday, May 21 at Spectrum Field against No. 8 seed Wichita State (26-29). First pitch is slated for approximately 12:30 p.m. and will be streamed on the American Digital Network.