2011 Baseball Outlook Part II
Feb. 18, 2011
The one thing the Pirates can bank on this season that they haven't been able to in any other year under head coach Billy Godwin is positional depth. With seven returnees that can play a multiple positions, Godwin and assistant coach Nick Schnabel are excited with they have seen since the start of Fall Ball back in September.
McDonald, a true freshman has also been impressive at first during the fall and early spring workouts. The 2010 N.C. 4A All-State performer batted .510 with 12 home runs as a senior at J.H. Rose High School and should see plenty of action in the field as the year progresses. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 259 pounds, McDonald is a right-hander version of Kyle Roller where just his presence in the lineup as a designated hitter on Opening Day, will be a huge factor.
Godwin has elected to go with Reinheimer at short and Younger at second to open the season. Reinheimer, who was drafted in 31st round by the Atlanta Braves, was rated as one of the top shortstops in the South by several scouts at the end of the 2010 campaign. As a senior at Ardrey Kell High School, he batted .378 with three home runs with a team-best 28 RBI while stealing 14 of 15 bases on his way to N.C. 4A All-State honors.
Younger will make his Pirate debut at second base after spending the past two seasons at St. Petersburg College where he batted .335 with eight doubles, 23 RBI and 31 runs scored. Schnabel has said that Younger is a fluid midfielder that reminds him of former Pirate shortstop Billy Richardson (2004-05). Ussery, led the Pirates in hitting during the fall is versatile enough that he can play both second and short with no problems. During his two-year stint at Ohlone Junior College, the same Junior College that Schnabel played at before coming to ECU in 1999, he batted .340 (103-for-303) with two home runs, 24 doubles, 70 runs scored and helped the Renegades to the 2010 California State Championship and a No. 3 final ranking by Perfect Game.
Homan, the Pirates top utility man a year ago, set career-highs in hits (40), doubles (7), RBI (28) and belted his first collegiate home run against Conference USA foe Tulane on April 3. The two-time team captain and two-time recipient of the Honorary No. 23 jersey will get the start in left field. He played in 43 games with 33 starts and ranked fifth on the team with a .313 batting average.
Wooten, a 2010 C-USA All-Freshman Team member, started 54 of 55 games played in 2010 experiencing action at short (24 games), first (18), third (9) and in the outfield (3). He batted .311 (69-for-222) with nine home runs, 10 doubles, 40 RBI and 39 runs scored. Wooten, who will open the season in right field, started his freshman season by hitting a home run in his first collegiate at-bat against then No. 2 Virginia and started his career with a homer in three-straight games.
Also battling for playing time in the outfield are sophomores Philip Clark (Norfolk, Va.), Jacob Davis (Wilson, N.C.) and Chris Gosik (Malvern, Pa.) along with true freshman Ben Fultz (Greensboro, N.C.). Clark and Gosik experienced significant action a year ago combining to start 44 games. Clark batted .290 with two home runs, five doubles, swiped nine bases and scored 28 runs. Gosik appeared in 39 games in left field and at third base during his rookie campaign where he batted .246 with two home runs, five doubles, 12 RBI and was a perfect 4-for-4 on the base paths.