PirateIllustrated - ECU Preparation Continues For Opening Weekend Against Radford
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ECU Preparation Continues For Opening Weekend Against Radford

Alec Burleson is set to get the start on the mound for opening day when ECU hosts Radford on Friday.
Alec Burleson is set to get the start on the mound for opening day when ECU hosts Radford on Friday. (ECU Photo)

Nationally ranked ECU continues to prepare for their first baseball regular season series this weekend in Greenville when Radford comes to town. Pirate head coach Cliff Godwin talked about his expectations for this weekend’s opening series.

“We just need to do what we’ve been doing. That’s been the message this week. We don’t need to go out there and try to do anything more - try to be something that we are not,” said Godwin, “Each individual player knows what their strengths and weaknesses are and just be themselves.”

Pirate left-hander Alec Burleson will start in the season opener on Friday with Jake Agnos and Tyler Smith slated to get their first starts of the season on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Burleson says he is excited to be called upon on the mound on opening day but also hopes to be able to do some damage at the plate whether it’s batting for himself on Friday or getting to swing the bat later in the weekend.

“It’s awesome. I feel like I did what I had to do to earn that spot but nothing is going to change. I’m going to do the same thing that I’ve done every week going in to pitch on a Friday and during the scrimmages and it’s just going to be a lot of fun,” Burleson said, “I’m going to find out when you guys find out if I’m going to be hitting for myself on Friday night, but then during the weekend it will be whatever coach feels is the right lineup.”

“He’s going to be in the lineup at least a couple of times this weekend,” Godwin said of Burleson, “As far as if he will be in the lineup Friday, Saturday or Sunday, I haven’t looked that far in advance.”

Bryant Packard hopes to have another quality season at the plate and wants to set the tone early against Radford.

“Coach says all the time be where your feet are and I know Brick said that the other day too,” Packard said, “That really does have to be the focus. It’s real easy to look ahead but you’ve really got to just take it day by day and do all the little things right so that’s our main focus.”

The ECU first team preseason All American arrived into this season with an abundance of confidence in this ECU team and he says the Pirates will be ready when the season begins Friday night against Radford.

“I don’t know anything about Radford at all other that they’re from Virginia and I think they’re red. I know they’ve got good arms,” Packard told PirateIllustrated.com, “They’re just another team, but I’ve been playing some of the best pitchers in the country, so I’m not really worried about it from an offensive standpoint.”

“This is a very high caliber team. This team has a chance to win a national championship every year with the coordinators and the people we bring in,” said Packard, “This university, I feel it’s built around baseball. Everybody thinks it’s our time. We’re really ready. It’s pretty similar to last year I guess. I think we’re ready to see someone in a different uniform color,” Packard stated, “I’m feeling really good.”

Spencer Brickhouse says his team is ready to go for this weekend but he will find out about how he is swinging the bat when the time comes this Friday.

“I feel like my timing is good but if my timing isn’t good, we’re three days away and there’s not much I can do about it now but just go out there and keep on competing whether my swing is good or not,” Brickhouse said, “I can’t really focus on mechanics right now. I’ve just got to go up there, have an approach and do a lot of situational hitting and try to get as many runs in as I can and do what I can to help the team win.”

The Highlanders open the season with the Pirates as part of ten road contests to begin the season under Coach Joe Raccuia.

Last season, Raccuia became the fourth coach in Big South history to win 300 career games after a 9-5 victory last season at Jacksonville State on February 24. In addition, Raccuia became the third Big South coach to win 150 league games with a 4-3 victory at Liberty on May 12.

Offensively, the Highlanders ranked second in the Big South last year and 49th overall in the the country with 269 walks. With 19 triples, the Highlanders ranked 23rd in the country, the most by a Highlander team in ten years.

Game one of the 2019 ECU baseball season double-header is set for 2 p.m. on Friday.