FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Coming off a year where the East Carolina baseball team made its second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance (ninth in the last 10 years) and reached the Conway Regional Finals, fourth-year head coach Billy Godwin once again will look to steer the Pirate ship into post-season play.
With the loss of six seniors and one junior from last year’s squad that posted its second consecutive 40-win season (42-21), the Pirates return 22 lettermen to go along with 13 newcomers and look to take the next step of reaching their goal of the College World Series.
The 2009 Pirates will play 35 games in Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium, which includes 18 of its first 22 games at home, as well as the Sixth Annual Keith LeClair Classic.
Nineteen teams on this year’s docket recorded 30 or more wins a season ago with nine of them topping the 40-win plateau; 11 schools earned a bid to participate in the NCAA Regional in 2008 with a pair making it to the College World Series (North Carolina and Rice), while four finished ranked in the Baseball America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Top 25 polls.
The Pirates will open the 2009 campaign on Friday, Feb. 20 against Monmouth in a three-game tilt and will stay home for their next five games, which includes a midweek match-up with Oklahoma State (Feb. 26), the LeClair Classic (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) and Old Dominion (Mar. 3).
Conference USA play opens March 20 for the Pirates when they welcome league foe UCF to town for a three-game series. Other C-USA schools making the trek to Greenville in 2009 include 2008 College World Series participant and C-USA regular season champion Rice (Apr. 10-12), Southern Miss (Apr. 24-26) and Memphis (May 14-16).
League road trips include Marshall (Mar. 27-29), UAB (Apr. 3-5), Tulane (Apr. 17-19) and 2008 C-USA Tournament Champion Houston (May 8-10).
ECU’s home non-conference schedule is highlighted by the annual Keith LeClair Classic that pits the Pirates against St. John’s (Feb. 27), Oklahoma State (Feb. 28) and College of Charleston (Mar. 1). Also scheduled for weekend series’ in Greenville are 2008 NCAA Regional participants UCLA (Mar. 13-15) and Louisiana-Lafayette (May 1-3), while UNC-Asheville (Mar. 10-11) comes to town for a pair of weekday contests.
The Pirates will have a home-and-home series against Campbell (Mar. 24 and Apr. 14), Elon (Mar. 28, Apr. 21 and 28), North Carolina (Apr. 7 and 22), N.C. State (Apr. 1 and 15) and UNC-Wilmington (Mar. 25, Apr. 8 and May 12), while also matching up against Norfolk State (Mar. 18). Their lone non-conference weekend trip takes them to Statesboro, Ga. to participate in Georgia Southern’s annual baseball tournament with games against Le Moyne (Mar. 6), Indiana (Mar. 7) and the Eagles (Mar. 8).