ECU Getting Ready For Trip to Louisville For Super Regional
GREENVILLE - After a whirlwind four days of regional action, the AAC’s best, ECU, finds themselves in the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend at Louisville from the ACC with the ultimate goal of making it to Omaha to vie for a national championship.
If the Pirates win the best of three matchup with Louisville at Jim Patterson Stadium, it would mark their first trip to the College World Series.
The Cardinals advanced after absorbing a day two loss to the third seed Illinois State to go along with a suspension to their closer and were nearly eliminated when they blew a ninth inning lead in their game on Monday.
Louisville teammates hung Michael McAvene’s No. 41 jersey atop the dugout during Louisville’s regional final against Illinois State.
Trey Leonard misplayed a sinking liner to centerfield that could have ended the game, but Louisville came through when freshman All-American Alex Binelas slapped base hit up the middle in the bottom of the inning to score the walk-off winning run. That after Louisville had already picked up a must win 11-2 victory over Illinois State on Sunday.
ECU advanced in a similar fashion, surviving a 5-4 loss to fourth seeded Qiuinnipiac before winning four straight games over N.C. State, Quinnipiac and two in a row over Campbell by a combined scored of 44-11. The Pirates’ 12-3 win in the title game underscored their grit and determination.
With McAvene receiving an automatic four-game suspension following his ejection for disputing an umpire’s decision in Louisville’s regional tournament victory over Indiana. That does give ECU at least one added advantage.
Alec Burleson, Bryant Packard, Spencer Brickhouse and Jake Washer produced 25 RBI’s in five games including four homers from Washer who was named the Greenville Regional’s MVP.
Cliff Godwin talked about how it feels to be two wins away from Omaha and the College World Series.
“It’s not something to be honest with you that I’m thinking about because that’s one thing with this team. We’ve just talked about staying in the present moment,” said Godwin, “I really just want us to go out there and play good baseball like we did this weekend. When our backs were against the wall, we played our best baseball.”
“It’s the same approach we’ve had all year,” Godwin told PirateIllustrated.com, “I know you guys want some secret sauce and it’s no secret. It’s been a close knit group. They’ve loved one another the entire year. We started 8-5 and they’ve gone out there and competed for one another and we just need to keep doing that.”
The turnaround is quick and fast approaching heading into Friday’s first game in Louisville and that is one thing the Pirates appear to be ready for.
“One of my buddies in Louisville texted me and said I can’t believe that you guys are playing at noon, but it is what it is,” Turner Brown, 19th round pick of the Colorado Rockies said after practice Wednesday morning at Clark-LeClair Stadium, “That was something that was good this past weekend. We were prepared for tough turnarounds so I think we’ll be good. We know after this past weekend we can handle about anything.”
Alec Burleson indicated the team is beginning to recharge as they prepare to travel to Louisville for ECU’s fifth Super Regional in school history.
“We’re trying to get our bodies around. It’s kind of a quick turnaround,” said Burleson who stated they guys are beginning to recharge a bit, “Yeah definitely, most of us all got the day off yesterday and today is just a lift and travel. We’re getting there. Whether we are a little sore on Friday won’t matter in the Super Regional. We’ll be alright.”
Burleson says his team knows what they’ve signed up for and playing on the road has it’s unique components.
“We know what to expect going in. We know it’s going to be hostile,” Burleson said, “We know that we’re going to have to throw our best punches and respond to their punches. It’s going to be fun to be in that atmosphere and to play in the Super Regionals so it’s two games and we’re going to Omaha.”
“It’s obviously very exciting. We’re going to take that momentum from the regional. Four games in two days, pretty much beating the crap out of everybody and having those fans behind us,” said Bryant Packard who was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Tigers yesterday, “We’re going to take that momentum into Louisville. We’re ready to roll. Right now we’ve got to lift, get on the plane, practice there, get a feel for Louisville and figure out what they’re all about but we’re really excited.”
Jake Agnos, who just got drafted in the fourth round by the Yankees, still has a little unfinished business heading into this weekend when the Pirates tee it up against the Louisville Cardinals.
“We have to take care of business and I don’t want this weekend to be my last weekend at ECU so that’s my priority right now,” said Agnos who told PirateIllustrated.com that little will change in the team’s approach heading into this weekend, “It’s to say the same baseball as we have for the last four games. I’m not even worried about Louisville and who they’ve got because I’m just worried about how good we’ve been playing and I know that if we our good baseball we’re going to be a lot better than a lot of teams. I’m excited and I know the guys are going to be jacked up and we’re just excited to get to Louisville. Coach said if I feel good enough which I do that I will be going Friday. I feel good and we’ll be ready to go.”
“We had probably the shorted turnaround ever playing four games in two days so I don’t think this is anything that we can’t handle,” Jake Kuchmaner said on Wednesday, “We’re excited to silence that place and just excited to get there and go compete again. We just want to go out there and play our baseball the way we have the last couple of days. Just continue to do that and let everything fall into place.”
“It was a very strenuous weekend. We had to play four games in two days, but in the end we’re built for that. We had the toughness and go through a lot of tough workouts in the fall and in the spring to where we can adjust to whatever schedule is thrown at us, said Spencer Brickhouse who was drafted in the seventh round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“You remember last year in the conference tournament we had all of those 9 am games,” Brickhouse told PI, “We try take any adversity and use it to our advantage just because we plan for the worst and we try to beat everybody else in terms of how we prepare.”
Jim Patterson Stadium will be the host venue this weekend, as the No. 7 national seed Louisville baseball team hosts the NCAA Super Regional round against No. 10 East Carolina beginning on Friday at noon ET. Both teams enter with 47-16 records. Louisville will host the super regional for the fifth time in the last six years.
Catch post practice audio from ECU players along with Coach Cliff Godwin and stay tuned for continuing coverage of the Louisville Super Regional here on PirateIllustrated.com.
NCAA LOUISVILLE SUPER REGIONAL SCHEDULE – EAST CAROLINA AT LOUISVILLE
Game 1: Friday, June 7 – Noon (ESPN2)
Game 2: Saturday, June 8 – 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 3: Sunday, June 9 – Noon (ESPN2)