The winds of change are blowing within East Carolina’s baseball program. Between the transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference and former Diamond Buc Cliff Godwin being named the new coach, there’s been a lot of shaking up.
Of course, one thing remains constant—the players constantly working at improving. That’s why ECU has nine players in summer leagues. Luke Lowery and Garrett Brooks have proven to be two of the most successful Pirates this summer as they’re conquering their respective leagues.
Lowery, a rising junior, was selected for the 2014 Cape Cod League Home Run Derby, which is set to take place on July 27. In 17 games with the Brewster Whitecaps this summer, Lowery has two home runs, scored five runs and driven in another seven runners.
So far, he’s built on his sophomore-season performance quite nicely. He batted .288 and had four home runs last season—good enough to tie for second on the team. He also scored 14 runs and had 19 RBI in 46 games. Furthermore, he’s further establishing himself as an elite catcher as he plays against some of the country’s best ball players. After all, five of the six players drafted in the top-10 of this year’s MLB Draft had played in Cape Cod.
Unfortunately, the Cape Cod League didn’t prove to be much of an opportunity for fellow Pirate Bryce Harman.
Brooks has spent his summer playing in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain League. He was named to the league’s All-Star squad and played in its 16th-annual Mid-Summer Classic earlier this month.
The rising junior outfielder has already topped his performance in the spring. Throughout the summer, Brooks has batted .259 with 35 runs and another 25 runners plated. He’s also been hitting hard with eight multi-base hits. This past season, he batted .207 with 21 runs and only eight RBI. He’s even doubled up on the four multi-base hits he had in 58 appearances this past year.
Granted, Brooks played some of baseball’s best in the spring. ECU met the likes of Virginia and Rice, as well as strong Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth squads. Even so, he’s taken his performance last season and bested it in a shorter window of time. If anything, it should prove to be a confidence booster.
The Pirates are also represented well in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League. Catcher Eric Tyler and infielders Kirk Morgan and Cameron Snow, all rising sophomores, are spending their summer with the Lake Norman Copperheads. Both men have played a role in leading the team to a 21-16 so far this summer.
All Pirates playing for the Copperheads have improved upon their freshman seasons. Tyler and Morgan both batted below .200 throughout the spring, but have done much better this summer. Morgan is batting .293 while Tyler is averaging .254.
Snow didn’t play as a freshman, so he hasn’t had anything to build on. However, he’s done well at third base for Lake Norman. He’s batting a modest .167, but is getting plenty of experience that will only help him.
With nine representatives in four leagues, ECU’s baseball players are getting valuable experience this summer. Not all are finding as much success as, say, Brooks and Lowery, but the time spent on the field this summer will prove worthwhile as they prepare to embrace plenty of changes in the program this year.