GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina’s 2016-17 baseball recruiting class has garnered a No. 23 national ranking by Baseball America the publication announced late Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first time in the program’s history the Pirates have been tabbed with a Top 25 recruiting ranking by Baseball America.
“Jeff Palumbo, our recruiting coordinator, and our entire staff worked tirelessly to put together this class,” said third-year head coach Cliff Godwin. “This is great recognition for our baseball program as we continue to build on our tradition. We are looking forward to combining a talented new group with our veteran experience to compete in the spring.”
The 2016-17 recruiting class consists of three infielders (Nick Barber, Spencer Brickhouse and Bryant Packard), one catcher (Zack Moore), four outfielders (Dusty Baker, Tyler Edwards, Andrew Henrickson and TJ Riles) and six pitchers (Jake Agnos, Trey Benton, Hunter Britt, Hunter Hood, Ryan Ross, Tyler Smith).
During his two years at the helm of the program, Godwin has guided ECU to a pair of NCAA Regional berths, a Super Regional appearance, an American Athletic Conference Tournament title and a 78-44-1 (.638) overall record. Three players have earned All-America honors, five were named to the Charlottesville All-Regional Team, six took home all-conference honors (five first-teamers), seven were selected as American Player-of-the-Week, while a pair were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
The Pirates, who began fall workouts on Sept. 29, will scrimmage every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium leading up to their annual Purple & Gold World Series, which will be held Nov. 4-6 (times to be determined) and is free of charge to the fans.
ECU returns 19 letterwinners, including four Charlottesville All-Regional selections (Evan Kruczynski, Eric Tyler, Travis Watkins/Most Outstanding Player and Charlie Yorgen), 2016 Freshman All-American Dwanya Williams-Sutton and 2014 all-conference performer Bryce Harman. In all, the roster consists of 10 freshmen, eight sophomores, nine juniors and nine seniors.
What Baseball America Says About ECU’s Recruiting Class
“Coach Cliff Godwin built a reputation as an outstanding recruiter during his time as an assistant coach at Central Florida, Louisiana State and Mississippi. Now, he and his staff, led by Palumbo, land the program’s first-ever Top 25 class as they enter their third season with the Pirates. Brickhouse and Packard give East Carolina a pair of powerful hitters who could become mainstays in the middle of the order. Both have plus raw power and can drive the ball out to all fields. Brickhouse is more advanced as a hitter and does a god job of getting to his power in games. Packard is a little more athletic, however. Either could see time at first base or as a corner outfielder, but both profile best as first basemen in the long run. Agnos and Benton lead the newcomers on the mound and will be expected to pitch meaningful innings this spring. Benton is the best pro prospect in the class thanks to his arm strength and projectable frame. His fastball sits around 90 mph, but he’s been up to 95 mph. Agnos has a strong, physical build and comes right after hitters with a low-90s fastball and a good curveball. That combination would play well in the bullpen, but his changeup gives him a third promising pitch. Hood will quickly carve out a role on the Pirates’ staff thanks to his pitchability from the left side. He isn’t overpowering, but he throws three pitches for strikes and knows how to get outs. Britt and Smith were both two-sport stars in high school and have the upside to develop into bigger pieces of the ECU staff as they get more time on the mound. Edwards and Riles, the son of former big leaguer Ernie Riles, were productive hitters in junior college and give the Pirates more outfield depth. Barber is a capable defender who can play anywhere on the infield.”
For breakdowns on the Top 25 classes, visit www.baseballamerica.com.