2014 baseball schedule released

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Thirty-two home games at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the 11th-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2014 East Carolina baseball schedule announced Friday morning by head coach Billy Godwin.

The 2014 slate features 18 games against teams that earned a bid to the 2013 NCAA Regionals, 25 against teams with 35-plus wins and 14 that finished ranked in the national polls.

ECU will play 15 of its first 21 games at Clark-LeClair Stadium as well as seven of its final 10 contests. The Pirates will open play on Friday, Feb. 14 at home against former Colonial Athletic Association foe James Madison in a three-game series before hosting Campbell on Feb. 18.

The Pirates hit the road for the first time on Feb. 21 when they play the first of four Atlantic Coast Conference institutions, traveling to 2013 Super Regional participant Virginia for a three-game tilt in Charlottesville.

After a midweek clash at Virginia Commonwealth (Feb. 26), ECU returns home to host the annual Keith LeClair Classic, which pits the Pirates against Western Kentucky (Feb. 28), Pittsburgh (Mar. 1) and Ohio State (Mar. 2). Following a midweek game at UNC Greensboro (Mar. 5), ECU will play eight of its next nine contests at home and will open its final season in Conference USA hosting Marshall (Mar. 7-9) before playing UNC Greensboro at Clark-LeClair on Mar. 11

On Wednesday, Mar. 12 the Pirates will square off with Wake Forest at Fleming Stadium in Wilson before hosting Tulane (Mar. 14-16) and Virginia Commonwealth (Mar. 19) to close out the home stand.

The Pirates renew their old C-USA rivalry with Charlotte (Mar. 21-23) in the Queen City before playing five-straight games at home against UNC Wilmington (Mar. 25), N.C. Central (Mar. 26) and UMBC (Mar. 28-30) on their conference bye weekend.

Over the next four weeks, the Pirates will play 11 of its next 17 games against 2013 NCAA Regional Teams including home and home contests against College World Series participants NC State (Apr. 2 and Apr. 9) and North Carolina (Apr. 22 and Apr. 29). Sandwiched in between the two games with the Wolfpack is a three-game road series at perennial power Rice (Apr. 4-6), while the following weekend will be another C-USA road series with Old Dominion (Apr. 11-13). The second of two games with UNC Wilmington will be played at Brooks Field on Apr. 15 before ECU squares off against Middle Tennessee (Apr. 17-19) at home and Florida Atlantic (Apr. 25-27) in Boca Raton, Fla. Closing out the schedule in its final 10 games are home league series against Florida International (May 2-4) and UTSA (May 15-17), as well as a three-game road trip to long-time C-USA foe Southern Miss (May 9-11). ECU's last non-conference game of the year will be at home against High Point on May 13.

"This year's schedule will challenge our team on both a regional and national level," said Godwin, who is in his ninth season at ECU. "As always, Conference USA stacks up as one of the best leagues in the country. We have some outstanding teams with great tradition visiting Clark-LeClair Stadium and our players and coaches are excited about the great opportunities we will have in the spring."

The 2014 C-USA Baseball Championships will be held May 21-25 at Pete Taylor Park on the campus of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss.

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 Jeff 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, Davis Kirkpatrick, T.J. McDonald, Bryce Harman, Evan Kruczynski, Kirk Morgan, Phillip Perry, Cameron Snow, Eric Tyler, Jacob Wolfe and Charlie Yorgen.

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