Baseball Gets Set to Kick Off NCAA Regionals Against No. 10 East Carolina

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Baseball Gets Set to Kick Off NCAA Regionals Against No. 10 East Carolina

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Steven Pappas

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Eventually, we are going to play baseball here in Greenville North Carolina. With Friday’s opening round being a washout, all games that were either supposed to, be played or were in the middle of being played have been moved to Saturday. Quinnipiac and host East Carolina will play at 4 p.m. with both teams looking to book a spot against Campbell in the winner’s bracket. Looking at the radar to this point, the skies looks clear. That is, until 4 p.m. — so there is a possibility we will see another weather delay. The good news is, after 5 p.m. the rain is supposed to be cleared.

 

Now that the logistics are out of the way, it’s time to talk baseball. Quinnipiac will be facing one of their hardest tasks in recent memory in No. 10 East Carolina, who is coming into this afternoon’s contest sporting a very impressive 43-15 record and the host of its own regional. Where their record really stands out is at home — behind the rabid fan section out in left field, stretching all the way towards center field called “The Jungle”, the Pirates are a dominant 24-5 at Clark-LeClair Stadium. With an expected crowd of over 2,000 in “The Jungle” alone, this is an atmosphere that most Quinnipiac players have never experienced before.

 

For the Pirates, they are led by sophomore two-way player Alec Burleson, whose batting average is sitting at a very comfortable .370 with an astonishing 87 hits on the season, 14 more hits than the next closest player. On the mound, he sports a 2.98 ERA in 7 starts and 21 pitching appearances. Burleson, however is not one of the three East Carolina players that are in the top 150 MLB draft prospects this year — those spots belong to Bryant Packard, Spencer Brickhouse and Jake Agnos. Junior Bryant Packard’s numbers have dropped from a season ago but he is still hitting .349 with six home runs and 35 RBI’s and is projected at pick number 119. Spencer Brickhouse has slugged 12 home runs on the season to go along with his team leading 51 RBI’s and 42 walks. Finally, pitcher Jake Agnos, the Pirates clear cut ace, is 10-2 with a 2.00 ERA on the season in 90.0 innings pitched. Agnos has 131 strikeouts on the season, 58 more than any other Pirates pitcher.

 

The Pirates have threats up and down the lineup that the Bobcats pitching will have to be careful with. Their top six batters are hitting over the .300 mark with Turner Brown hitting .299 in the seven hole.

 

Quinnipiac is going to need a very good start from whoever is on the mound to start this one. Both Chris Enns and Tyler Poulin are tied for the team lead in starts at 14, with Enns having a slight advantage in ERA, sitting a 3.67. For the Bobcats to win this game, however, it needs to come from their offense. They’re second in the region in team batting average and need their big guns to have a huge game at the plate. The tournament as a whole has seen 13 games where a team has scored in double figures and Quinnipiac is going to need to get close to, or over that mark today.

 

While No. 4 seeds are 1-14 so far in regionals, there is an attitude around this Quinnipiac team that’s different. A team that looks to be having fun with the opportunity they have been given is a scary thing to face for a team that is a heavy favorite. First pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium, streaming live on ESPN3.