Game Day Central: East Carolina at Virginia (Game 7)
Feb. 22, 2014
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE GAME
The Pirates entered this weeks action receiving votes in three polls (NCBWA, Perfect Game and USAToday/ESPN Coaches poll) ... Virginia is currently ranked in the Top-10 in four major polls, including No. 1 by Baseball America (others: NCBWA/4, USA Today/ESPN/6, Collegiate Baseball/9).
ECU returns 18 letterwinners including Second-Team Louisville Slugger All-American Drew Reynolds and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American David Lucroy. Joining Reynolds (first-team) and Lucroy (second-team/freshman team), who were also All-Conference USA performers in 2013, are Hoffman (second-team/'13), Zach Houchins (second-team/'13) and Travis Watkins (freshman team/'13).
Also stepping onto the diamond are 16 new faces, which consist of five junior college transfers in Hunter Allen (Brunswick CC), James Gray (South Florida State College), Reid Love (St. Johns River State College), Brandon Saunders (Pitt CC) and Ian Townsend (St. Johns River State College)
The Pirates also welcome to campus 11 true freshmen in Luke Bolka, Kirkpatrick, TJ McDonald, Bryce Harman, Evan Kruczynski, Kirk Morgan, Philip Perry, Cameron Snow, Eric Tyler, Jacob Wolfe and Charlie Yorgen.
PIRATES TO WATCH (prior to series opener)
Love Notes:Slated to make first start for the Pirates against No. 1 Virginia ... Made ECU debut on the mound against JMU working 1.2 perfect relief frames ... A two-way threat for ECU that will also see action in the outfield and as the Pirates designated hitter ... Two-year starter at St. Johns River State College alongside current Pirate Ian Townsend ... Posted an 8-2 record with 47 strikeouts to just 10 walks in 62.2 innings as a sophomore ... Ranked third nationally with a 0.86 ERA.
Lucroy Notes:Suffered loss in 2014 debut to JMU allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts ... Listed as a top-11 prospect in Conference USA by BA and PG ... In 2013 was named Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American ... Second-Team All-Conference USA and All Freshman Team selection ... Stated 14 of 15 games ... Led ECU starters in ERA and opp. BA (.194) ... Had seven quality starts.
Drew Reynolds has earned plenty of preseason praise heading into the 2014 opener ... Tabbed Conference USA Co-Player-of-the-Year by the leagues head coaches becoming just the third Pirate since 2002 (ECU's first year in C-USA) to garner preseason player-of-the-year honors following Darryl Lawhorn (2004) and Seth Maness (2009) ... The Pirates top utility player the last two seasons, Reynolds earned Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-America and First-Team All-Conference USA honors a year ago after leading ECU with a .322 average and 68 hits, while ranking second with 13 doubles and fourth with 30 runs scored ... On the mound the Cherryville, N.C. native posted a 3-2 record with a 2.92 ERA and recorded a league and team-best 14 saves, which also ranked 14th nationally ... In 2014 was named starter at second base and as the closer again, has garnered preseason All-America honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (first-team) and Collegiate Baseball (second-team), as well as first-team all-league accolades by Perfect Game ... Reynolds has recorded at least one hit in all four games this season and pushed his current streak of reaching base safely to nine games dating back to last season (hit streak is at seven games).
Junior college transfer Ian Townsend made his presence known in this first game with the Pirates belting a three-run homer in the ECU's 6-5 series opening win against James Madison ... The Brooksville, Fla. native leads the team with seven RBI and 11 total bases, where is he batting .353 (6-for-17) with a pair of runs.
Senior Zach Houchins also recorded at least one base hit in all four games ... Currently he is batting .313 (5-for-16) with an RBI, one run scored and a team-high three stolen bases.
ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin enters his 15th career as a college head coach, where he owns a career record of 549-276-1 ... At ECU he is 287-191-1 in nine seasons ... His 287 wins trails only ECU Hall of Famer Dr. Gary Overton, who amassed 427 wins in 13 years (1985-1997) as the Pirates' skipper.