Senior Becomes The 11th Recipient Of The Honorary Jersey
Senior Becomes The 10th Recipient Of The Honorary Jersey
Meet the Pirates is scheduled for Feb. 2 at 11 a.m.
Morgan Played Two Seasons At College of Charleston
Former Pirate standout Ben Sanderson enters his second season as East Carolina's hitting instructor, outfield coach and recruiting coordinator, a position he accepted on July 13, 2012.
During his first year back with the Purple and Gold, Sanderson helped the Pirate offense lead Conference USA in batting average (.279), slugging percentage (.383) and sac flies (29), while ranking second in hits (548), home runs (33) and total bases (752).
He mentored a pair of First-Team All C-USA selections in first baseman Chase McDonald and utility player Drew Reynolds, while third baseman Zach Houchins (second-team) and catcher Travis Watkins (all-freshman team) also garnered post-season accolades.
McDonald, a 12th round selection in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros, became just the second Pirate to lead C-USA (47th nationally) in home runs (13) joining 2008 Player-of-the-Year Corey Kemp. He also ranked first in RBI (46) and slugging percentage (.519), while standing ninth in walks (31). Shortstop Jack Reinheimer, who batted .271 with nine doubles, 21 RBI and a team-best 10 stolen bases, was also taken in the MLB Draft after being picked in the fifth round by the Seattle Mariners.
Houchins ranked among the league leaders in doubles (2nd/18), slugging percentage (3rd/.513), sac flies (t3rd/6), RBI (6th/42), total bases (t8th/97) and home runs (9th/5).
Off the field, Sanderson has been instrumental in bringing in some of the best talent in the nation, which has garnered consecutive Top-40 national recruiting rankings by Collegiate Baseball (No. 33/2012, No. 38/2013) and Perfect Game (No. 26/2012, No. 24/2013).
Prior to his return to ECU, Sanderson served four years as an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic University working with the Owls' hitters and outfielders, while playing an integral role in its recruiting efforts.
Sanderson helped the Owls to a 131-97 four-year record that included a pair of Sun Belt Conference regular season titles (2010, '12), an appearance in the 2010 Gainesville Regional, mentored eight all-conference selections and one All-America honoree (Andy Mee).
As a recruiter, Sanderson played a key role in putting together FAU's nationally ranked recruiting classes the last three years including the 2012 class, which was rated No. 26 by Perfect Game recruiting services.
In 2012, Sanderson guided Mike Spano to all-conference honors following his first season as the Owls catcher. The junior backstop batted .291 with three home runs and 22 RBI. Fellow classmate and third baseman Kyle Newton was selected in the 19th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft by the Colorado Rockies after batting .311 with seven round trippers, 13 doubles, 34 RBI and scoring 37 runs.
Newton's selection by the Rockies marked the sixth offensive player drafted or free agent signing under Sanderson's leadership (Travis Ozga/41st round by N.Y. Mets in 2009; Raymond Church/26th round by Tampa Bay Rays in 2011; Nick DelGuidice/free agent signee by Kansas City Royals in 2011; Mike Albaladejo/free agent signee by Washington Nationals in 2012; Alex Hudak/free agent signee by Kansas City Royals).
During the 2011 campaign, Sanderson mentored Hudak, who batted .360 ranking among the league leaders. The junior outfielder also belted three home runs, roped 16 doubles, drove in 25 runs, scored a team second-best 41 runs and earned second-team all-conference honors.
In 2010, Sanderson helped develop players that led FAU to its first Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship and an appearance in the NCAA Gainesville Regional. The Owls advanced to the championship game losing to regional host Florida, which played in the College World Series.
Sanderson joined the Florida Atlantic coaching staff in 2008 after serving as a volunteer assistant coach for two years for the Pirates where he worked primarily with the outfielders and coaching first base. Off the diamond he was responsible for the Pirates' summer and winter baseball camps.
During his first stint with the Pirates, Sanderson was part of a staff that posted an 82-44 record and garnered a pair of No. 2 NCAA Regional seeds.
The 2008 club, which garnered a No. 2 seed at the 2008 Conway Regional after posting a 42-21 record, was ranked as high as No. 21 in the national polls and produced one of the most productive offensive seasons in C-USA history (all games) leading the league in nine categories including average (.317), hits (702), RBI (464), runs (498), slugging percentage (.499) and on-base percentage (.408). For the second consecutive season the Pirates ranked first in home runs belting 89 to follow-up on its 2007 league leading 68. Senior outfielder Harrison Eldridge earned the second of his two first-team All C-USA honors after batting a team-best .352 with 87 base hits, 61 runs and 32 stolen bases, all ranking among the C-USA leaders.
Sanderson was instrumental in helping the 2007 Pirates lead Conference USA with 85 stolen bases and ranked among the league leaders in outfield assists. The Seven Springs, N.C. native had a pair of Pirates rank among the league leaders in stolen bases with Eldridge ranking seventh and Ryan Wood finishing eighth. The 2007 campaign was highlighted by the Pirates (40-23) return trip to NCAA Regional play (No. 2 seed Chapel Hill), as well as a second place finish in both the Conference USA regular season and tournament championship. ECU also made a return appearance in the national polls where they spent nine weeks ranked in the top 30 with its highest rank at No. 19 by Baseball America on March 26.
A four-year letter winner, Sanderson helped the Pirates to four NCAA Regional appearances (2000-03), one Super Regional (2001) and a combined 170-78-2 record. As a senior he earned his second of two NCAA Regional all-tournament team selections in the Atlanta Regional, and became the first recipient of the honorary No. 23 jersey which was the number worn by ECU head coach Keith LeClair throughout his coaching and playing career.
During his junior campaign he was a member of the 2002 Conference USA Tournament Championship team that posted a 4-0 record and earned a NCAA Regional bid to the Clemson Regional. For his outstanding play, he was named to the regional all-tournament team. Sanderson closed out the season with a .405 batting average, which ranked second on the team and is tied for ninth on the single-season charts.
In 2001 the Pirates earned their first-ever NCAA National Seed, a top-10 national ranking, and NCAA Regional (Wilson) title while winning a school record-tying 47 games. As a freshman he helped ECU to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament title and a NCAA Regional (Lafayette) appearance.
Before coming back to ECU in 2007, Sanderson spent two years as the operations manager/ strength and conditioning coordinator at the Triple Crown Baseball Center in Greenville, N.C., where he organized and coordinated strength and conditioning programs for youth members ages 7-19. He also managed daily facility activities including one-on-one and group instruction, camps and special events, as well as general facility maintenance.
From December of 2005 until August of 2006, he worked with the Durham Bulls Baseball Club as a group sales assistant, creating and implementing admissions marketing campaigns for season ticket holders, mini plans, group tickets and picnic and suite areas.
Sanderson earned his undergraduate degree in exercise and sports science from ECU in 2003 and in May of 2006 completed his master's degree in exercise and sports science (sport management).