Pirate's Having Success in Pros

East Carolina has three former pirate pitchers that are having success in the major league after working their way up the through the minor leagues.

With all the success that the East Carolina baseball team is having of late, it is easy to overlook the success that former pirates are having at the next level. ECU has three former pirates that are pitching in Major League Baseball this year.

The first of the three to get there was Seth Maness, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round of the 2011 draft. Maness is the only pitcher in Conference USA history to be a four-time conference First-Team selection.

Joining the Cardinals' big league squad in 2013, Maness has made huge strides in just the first two years of his major league career. Maness was a part of two National League Championship Series and pitched in one World Series.

Maness is becoming a key part of the Cardinals bullpen. This year Maness has pitched in more than half of the games played. While having logged 20 innings so far this season, Maness is sporting an ERA of 4.05 while having a 14-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The next Pirate to debut in MLB was Chris Heston, who after the junior college transfer spent just one year at ECU entered the amateur draft. Heston was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 12th round of the 2009 amateur draft.

After spending the next five and a half seasons in the minor leagues, Heston was called up in September of last season. Although Heston was left off of the 25-man-roster during the Giants' run to World Series, he made five appearances in 2014.

The 6-foot-3, 195 pound right hander has shown glimpses this season of just how good he can be. Joining the Giants starting rotation this year, Heston has made nine starts and holds a 4-3 record, while owning a 4.33 ERA and recording 43 strikeouts in 54 innings.

On May 12, Heston had one of his best outings — capturing a road win against the Houston Astros, who have the best record in the American League. Heston tossed nine innings and only allowed two hits and one earned run.

The latest Pirate to make his debut in the big leagues was Mike Wright. The lengthy, 6-foot-6 right hander was selected in the third round of the 2011 draft and spent four years working his way up through the Orioles farm system, before having the opportunity to make his major league debut.

After starting off the 2015 season in Triple-A (Norfolk, Va.) with a 3-0 record, Wright was called up to join Orioles. Since being called up, Wright has made two starts with the O’s and was outstanding in both appearances. Wright has struck out 10 batters in 14 innings, while only giving up three walks, and hasn't allowed a run.

As the Pirates get ready to compete in their first regional since being eliminated by North Carolina in the 2012 season, ECU will hope to continue their postseason success and growing players at the next level.


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