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The 10th Inning (Feb. 4)

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With two weeks left until the start of the 2011 baseball season, today we introduce freshmen Austin Blake (outfielder) and Will Connerley (catcher). These two men are part of 12 newcomers that will wear the Purple and Gold this season and look to help the Pirates reach the College World Series.

Blake comes to ECU as a four-year letterwinner for head coach Jamie Mabe at Ronald Reagan High School. The Pfafftown, N.C. native is a four-time Central Piedmont 3A All-Conference and all-county performer and helped the Raiders to a 7-3 league record as a senior, where he belted eight home runs.

During his freshman season, Blake batted .508 with a pair of home runs and was named Triad Sports Weekly Rookie-of-the-Year. He followed his rookie campaign hitting four round-trippers while batting .450 and as a junior batted .400 with a team-best 10 homeruns, 33 RBI and seven doubles.

ECUPirates.com sat down with Blake for a quick 15 Question segment:

1.       Favorite sports hero: Mickey Mantle

2.       Person in history I'd most like to meet (& why): Mickey Mantle because he is arguably the best hitter ever in the game.

3.       Best athlete I've played against: Madison Bumgarner - 1st round pick by the San Francisco Giants (10th overall) in 2007.

4.       If I had to play another sport at ECU it would be: Golf

5.       If I were a superhero I'd be: Superman

6.       My favorite sports announcer is: Dick Vitale

7.       My favorite movie is: Black Sheep

8.       My favorite cartoon/TV show as a child was: Courage the Cowardly Dog

9.       My favorite breakfast cereal as a kid was: Cocoa Pebbles

10.    The CD I listen to most is: Metallica - The Black Snake Album

11.    I hated it when my mother made me eat: Meatloaf

12.    My advice to youngsters is: Never give up and keep your eyes on your goals

13.    My worst fear is: Clowns

14.   The biggest obstacle I've overcome was: Climbing Pilot Mountain

15. When I played my sport as a kid I pretended I was: Mickey Mantle and Albert Pujols


Connerely capped off his senior season helping Coach Kenny Lewis and the Confederates claim a share of the Capital District crown. He batted .425 with four homeruns in 2010 and was named first-team all-district, all-metro and all-region, while also garnering second-team N.C. all-state accolades and was named district player-of-the-year.

On the gridiron, he was a three-time letterwinner earning first-team all-district honors as a receiver and was a honorable mention selection as a defensive back as a senior.

In the classroom, Connerely was seven-time academic all-district selection (baseball-4, football-3) as well as a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Varsity Club and was a Hanover Scholar. During his first semester at East Carolina he posted a 3.0 GAP and was named to the ECU Director of Athletics Honor Roll in the Fall of 2010.

ECUPirates.com sat down with Connerley for a quick 15 Question segment:

1.       Favorite sports hero: Cal Ripken, Jr.

2.       Person in history I'd most like to meet: George Washington

3.       Most impressive person I've ever met: James Robert "Radio" Kennedy

4.       Best athlete I've played against: Jameson Taillon - 1st round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates (2nd overall) in 2010.

5.       If I were a superhero I'd be: Batman

6.       People say I look like: John Cena (wrestler)

7.       My favorite sports announcer is: Dick Vitale

8.       My favorite movie is: Shooter and the Hurt Locker

9.       My favorite cartoon/TV show as a child was: Scooby-Doo

10.    My favorite toy as a child: Tonka Trucks

11.    My favorite breakfast cereal as a kid was: Cinnamon Toast Crunch

12.    The think I like most about ECU is: The atmosphere

13.    My advice to youngsters is: Always give 110 percent, a 100 percent of the time

14.    My most prized possession is: My dogs

15.    My worst fear is: Spiders


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