Pirates brace for ‘unique’ 3-game series with No. 6 North Carolina

GREENVILLE, N.C. – ECU returns to the diamond Friday, Feb. 23 when it plays the first of three games against No. 6 North Carolina in a home, neutral and home series this weekend. The Pirates and Tar Heels will play in Greenville (Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium) at 5 p.m. before the series is moved to Durham (Durham Bulls Athletic Park) on Saturday for a 6 p.m. first pitch and culminates in Chapel Hill (Boshamer Stadium) on Sunday at 1 p.m. In Satruday’s game, ECU has been designated as the home team.

• ECU (4-0) comes into the series having won four-straight (3 vs. Western Carolina, 1 at Campbell), while North Carolina (2-3) picked up a series win at USF before dropping midweek games at home against UNC Wilmington and St. John’s.

• North Carolina owns a 49-27 record in the series and has won the last three meetings, including a home-and-home sweep in 2017 … The Pirates last win against the Tar Heels came on April 29, 2014 in Chapel Hill, 1-0.

PIRATE QUICK HITS (prior to game)
• Trey Benton picked up his first win of the season (fourth career) against Western Carolina on Opening Day … The sophomore right-hander worked five innings allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.

• Jake Agnos worked just three innings where he surrendered two runs (both earned) on three hits with three free passes and four punch outs against the Catamounts.

• Chris Holba notched his first win of the year (eighth career) after working 4.2 scoreless frames (predetermined pitch count) allowing four hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.

• Spencer Brickhouse hit a pair of home runs during the WCU series while driving in a team-best six runs … He enters the UNC series having reached base in 20 straight games dating back to Tulane in 2107 … His home runs, which came in consecutive games, marked the second time in his young career he belted homers on consecutive days (other: March 7 & 8 at CofC) … His three-run blast in the opener was his fifth career game-winning RBI.

• Alec Burleson has started all four games (2/DH, 1/1B, 1/P) … On the mound, he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances (1 start) and has struck out a team second best seven batters … At the plate, he is batting .286 with three RBI and three runs scored … He has collected at least one hit in 3 of 4 games.

• Brady Lloyd leads the club with a .545 (6-for-11) average and is second in runs scored (6) … At Campbell, he drove in a career-best two runs and registered his second career game-winning RBI with a single in the third inning … In his four start at second, he has recorded two putouts and 11 assists.

• Seth Caddell (.375) and Jake Washer (.429) are splitting time behind the plate as both have started two games each … Caddell had a career night at Campbell collecting three hits (two doubles) and scoring a pair of runs … Washer tied a career-high with two hits and two RBI in the series finale vs. the Catamounts.

• Dwanya Williams-Sutton is batting .313 on the season with three RBI and a team-best seven runs … He is also the team leader with three stolen bases.

• ECU’s starting pitching is sporting a 2.30 ERA through the first four games … They have allowed four runs (all earned) on 16 hits with 21 strikeouts to just six walks while holding opposing hitters to a .258 clip … The bullpen has surrendered six runs (five earned) with 22 strikeouts and one walk in 20.1 innings for a 2.21 ERA … The pen has not allowed an inherited to score (3 inherited runners).

Friday: RHP Gianluca Dalatri (0-1; 7.36 ERA) vs. RHP Trey Benton (1-0, 3.60 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Tyler Baum (1-0; 3.38 ERA) vs. LHP Jake Agnos (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Chris Holba (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

• Cliff Godwin, who was named the 16th head coach in school history on June 25, 2014, was a four-year letterwinner for the Pirates from 1998-2001 … He has been a part of nine NCAA Regional and two College World Series teams at the Division I level as an assistant coach and head coach …During his three years at the helm of the program, Godwin has guided ECU to a pair of NCAA Regional berths (2015-16), a Super Regional appearance (2016), an American Athletic Conference (2015) Tournament title and a 114-73-1 (.609) 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 three have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams … Named 2015 AAC Coach-of-the-Year and was inducted into the George Whitfield Hall of Fame in January of 2016 … Recently he was named to the 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team staff where he will serve as the third base and hitting coach … As a player, he helped former ECU skipper Keith LeClair’s teams post a 169-76 four-year ledger, including 46-plus wins in each of his final three seasons (16-16 in ’99, 46-18 in ’00 and 47-13 in ’01) … ECU won a pair of CAA Tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Regionals every season from 1999 to 2001 … The Pirates were the top seed in their regional all three years, including a No. 7 national seed in 2001 where they advanced to the Super Regional round before being eliminated by Tennessee.

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