GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Thirty-two home games at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the 13th-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2016 East Carolina baseball schedule announced Monday by second-year head coach Cliff Godwin.
The 2016 slate features 17 games against seven teams that earned a bid to the 2015 NCAA Regionals, 37 against squads with 30-plus wins (27 with 35-plus wins, 10 with 40-plus wins) and 12 that finished ranked in the national polls.
ECU will play 21 of its first 28 games at Clark-LeClair Stadium including its first American Athletic Conference series with 2015 regular season champion and NCAA Regional participant Houston (April 1-3).
“We are very excited about our 2016 schedule,” Godwin said. “We wanted to challenge ourselves in our non-conference schedule to prepare us for the rigorous American Athletic Conference Schedule, which had the third-best RPI in the country last year. Our season will be challenging, but we are eager to play some of the best teams in the country!”
The 2016 season officially gets underway on Friday, Feb. 20 at home against Longwood for a three-game tilt followed by a midweek contest against N.C. A&T (Feb. 24). ECU’s first road series will be at Virginia (Feb. 26-28), who won the 2015 College World Series. The Pirates and Cavaliers continue their home-and-home series that started in 2010.
After a home midweek game against instate foe Elon (Mar. 2), the Pirates will host their annual Keith LeClair Classic, which pits ECU against Southeastern Louisiana (Mar. 4), Tennessee (Mar. 5) and 2015 Super Regional participant Maryland (Mar. 6). The matchup against SE Louisiana will be the first in program history, while the Pirates and Volunteers will play for the first time since the 2001 NCAA Super Regional, which was held at Historic Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C.
Following a pair of home games against former Colonial Athletic Association member George Mason (Mar. 8-9), ECU will hit the road for a three-game non-conference series with 2015 NCAA Regional participant Rice (Mar. 11-13) at Reckling Park. The last time the two teams squared-off was in Houston in 2014 with the Pirates claiming their first-ever series win over the Owls.
Over the next three weeks, the Pirates will play 11 of their next 13 games at home hosting North Carolina (Mar. 15), Monmouth (Mar. 18-20), Jacksonville (Mar. 24-26), 2015 NCAA Regional participant UNC Wilmington (Mar. 29) and Houston, which opens league play. On March 22, the Pirates will travel to Duke for the first time since 2004 for a midweek clash.
The Pirates will then embark on an eight-game road trip from April 5-17, which includes non-conference games at Elon (April 5) and UNC Wilmington (April 12), along with weekend series at 2015 NCAA Regional participant Tulane (April 8-10) and Memphis (April 15-17).
On April 19 ECU will play host to 2015 NCAA Regional participant NC State followed by road contest at High Point (April 20). ECU and UConn will square-off six times this season, as each American conference baseball team will play a home-and-home series with their regional partner. The Pirates will host the Huskies April 22-24 before heading up to Storrs May 6-8.
ECU will make return trips to NC State (April 26) and North Carolina (May 10), while playing host to Cincinnati (April 29-May 1), USF (May 13-15) and Campbell (May 17) to close out the home schedule.
For the second-straight year ECU will wrap-up the regular season on the road this time facing UCF (May 19-21) in Orlando, Fla. before heading over to Clearwater, Fla. for the 2016 American Athletic Conference Tournament (May 24-29).
A year ago Godwin guided the Pirates to a 40-win season, an American Athletic Conference Tournament title and a berth in the Coral Gables Regional — its first NCAA Regional since 2012.
The Pirates return 17 letterwinners including Coral Gables All-Regional selection Garrett Brooks, 2015 Freshman All-America and All-AAC Tournament member Joe Ingle, three-time Johnny Bench Award Watch List Travis Watkins, weekend starters Evan Kruczynski and Jacob Wolfe, along with 2014 all-conference performers Bryce Harman and Charlie Yorgen.
Also stepping onto the diamond are 17 newcomers, which consist of five infielders (Turner Brown, Kendall Ford, Brady Lloyd, Wes Phillips and Drew Piscorik), three outfielders (Justin Dirden, Ryan Littlefield and Dwanya Williams-Sutton), one catcher (Jake Washer), six pitchers (Matt Bridges, Cam Colmore, West Covington, Chris Holba, Sam Lanier and Shelton Perkins, Jr.) and a pair of two-way players (Denny Brady and Zack Mozingo).
Season tickets are officially on sale with packages starting as low as $120. Pirate fans have four different options to choose from and can purchase their 2016 season tickets by utilizing ECU’s Online Ticket Center (http://www.ecupirates.com/tickets/otc.html) or contacting the ECU Athletic Ticket Office at (252) 737-4500.
Chair back (regular): $200
Chair back (upgrade): $400
Economy Plan/Young Grad: $120
Renewal applications are in the process of being mailed to 2015 season ticket holders, but fans should visit the Online Ticket Center, reserve by phone or visit the ticket box office to make purchases by the January 15 priority deadline.
2015 East Carolina Fall Schedule and Important Dates
Purple & Gold World Series (free to public)
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 30 (5 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 31 (1 p.m.)
Game 3: Sunday, Nov. 1 (2 p.m.)
Other Dates To Remember
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015: Fall Meet the Pirates (more information to come)
Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016: Evening With the Pirates (more information to come)