FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Thirty-four home games at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the Eighth-Annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight the 2011 East Carolina baseball schedule announced Thursday afternoon by head baseball coach Billy Godwin.
The 2011 slate features 14 games against teams that earned a bid to the 2010 NCAA Regionals; 30 against teams with 30-plus wins, nine that topped the 40-plus win plateau and eight that finished ranked in the national polls.
ECU will open play on Friday, Feb. 19 at home against Youngstown State before hitting the road for the first of its seven games against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents. The Pirates will play a three-game road tilt against 2009 College World Series participant Virginia (Feb. 25-27), a midweek contest at 2010 Regional member N.C. State (Apr. 5), a home-and-home series with 2009 College World Series participant North Carolina (Apr. 12 and Apr. 27) and a neutral site matchup versus Wake Forest (May 11) at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C.
The Pirates’ home non-conference schedule is highlighted by the annual Keith LeClair Classic that pits the Pirates against Monmouth (Mar. 11), Rutgers (Mar. 12) and Liberty (Mar. 13). Also scheduled to make a trip to Greenville are Pepperdine (Mar. 4-6), High Point (Mar. 9), Buffalo (Mar. 16), Rutgers (Mar. 18-20) and Delaware State (May 13-15).
Conference USA play opens on March 25 for the Pirates when they play host to league foe Memphis for a three-game series. Other C-USA schools making the trek to Greenville in 2011 include Rice (Apr. 8-10), UCF (Apr. 15-17) and Southern Miss (Apr. 29-May 1). League road trips include UAB (Apr. 1-3), Houston (Apr. 21-23), Marshall (May 6-8) and Tulane (May 19-21).
"Once again we have been able to put together another outstanding schedule," said Godwin. "To go along with our conference schedule, we will play four teams from the ACC along with several in-state rivals. Our players look forward to playing on a national stage and this schedule gives them the opportunity to compete with some of the top teams in the country. We want to play a schedule that gives us a chance to play for championships and reach our goal of playing in Omaha."
Along with NCAA Regional participant Elon (Mar. 15 and Mar. 30), ECU will have home-and-home series against Campbell (Mar. 1 and Mar. 8), UNC Wilmington (Mar. 29 and Apr. 19) and Old Dominion (Apr. 26 and May 17).
The annual C-USA Tournament is set for May 25-28 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., the AA minor league home of the Atlanta Braves.
The Pirates, who have made 10 NCAA Regional appearances in the last 12 seasons, return 23 letterwinners including 2010 Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Year and three-time first-team selection Seth Maness. Joining Maness are all-league performers Zach Woods (2010 Newcomer-of-the-Year/2nd-team), Brad Mincey (2nd-team/ ’09), Corey Thompson (2nd-team/ ’10), Trent Whitehead (1st-team/ 2009) and John Wooten (freshman team/ ’10).
Also stepping onto the diamond are 13 new faces, which consist of junior college transfers Michael Ussery (Ohlone) and Timothy Younger (St. Petersburg), as well as 11 true freshmen: Jacob Baker, Austin Blake, Austin Chrismon, William Connerley, Ben Fultz, Jonathan Holt, Joshua Lovick, Chase McDonald, Jack Reinheimer, Drew Reynolds and Dario Santangelo.