Countdown To Opening Day: The First Basemen
Feb. 8, 2014
When looking around the infield, one of the biggest voids the Pirates will have to fill is at first base in the tune of 11 home runs, 46 RBI and 31 walks - the numbers that 2013 First-Team All-Conference USA and Houston Astros 12th round selection Chase McDonald put up a year ago.
Sophomore Luke Lowery and true freshman Bryce Harman are the two guys that ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin will look to. Lowery, who started 25 of 34 games a year ago as a catcher, will make the move over to first and is projected as the opening weekend starter. During his rookie season he batted .304 (28-for-92) with four home runs, a double, two triples and drove in 14 runs. Standing at 6-2' and 237 pounds, Lowery has a similar build to McDonald and offensively could put up the same kind of numbers with more at-bats. The Midlothian, Va. native had a solid summer with the Wilson Tobs of the Coastal Plain League and is now learning how to hit, not just for power but also for average.
Harman is a versatile player who could see action at first, in left field, as the designated hitter and can even toe the rubber out of the bullpen. The Chesterfield, Va. native, who was taken in the 27th round of the 2013 MLB Draft (pick 826) by the Washington Nationals, was a two-way player for Lloyd C. Bird High School where he was a two-time Virginia All-State selection. As a four-year starter, Harman was a career .400 hitter with nine home runs and 90 RBI for the Skyhawks During his senior campaign he was an unanimous first-team all-state and all-conference selection where he batted .439 with 11 doubles and 28 walks.
Senior Joshua Lovick could also see time at first late in the games as a defensive replacement. The Kinston, N.C. native came to East Carolina as a catcher in 2011, but the last two seasons has bounced around the infield due to his soft hands and solid defensive play.
Check back tomorrow when we take a look at the middle infielders.