GREENVILLE, N.C. – A total of 34 home games, including the 20th annual Keith LeClair Classic, as well as 30 contests against teams slotted in the top 100 of the final 2022 RPI rankings help constitute the East Carolina baseball program’s 2023 competition schedule released Wednesday morning by ninth-year head coach and reigning American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Cliff Godwin.
Additionally, the three-time defending AAC regular season champion Pirates will play 12 games (nine at home) against teams that qualified for an NCAA Regional a season ago as well as eight against squads ranked or receiving votes in the final 2022 Top 25 polls.
Season tickets for the 2023 East Carolina baseball season are officially on sale and can be ordered through ECUPirates.com or by calling (252) 737-4500.
Renewal applications for baseball are in the process of being mailed to 2022 season ticket holders, but fans can utilize ECU’s Online Ticket Center, reserve by phone or visit the ticket box office in the meantime to make purchases by the January 3rd deadline. Season ticket prices have remained the same in 2023 which continues to be lower than peers in state and conference opponents. Chairback tickets are less than $8 a ticket and Economy Plan tickets are less than $5 a game for the season.
“We are extremely excited about the schedule we were able to put together for the 2023 season,” Godwin said. “As a program, we always want to have a strong, competitive slate to prepare us for the postseason. This schedule is full of quality opponents who will push us to play our best baseball each game. Pirate Nation, make sure to get your season tickets today. GO PIRATES!”
The 89th season of collegiate baseball at ECU begins with a three-game home set against George Washington (Feb. 17-19) followed by a midweek trip to in-state rival Campbell (Feb. 21). The Pirates then host North Carolina Feb. 25-26 in the first two games of a weekend series before wrapping it up with a Sunday contest in Chapel Hill (Feb. 27).
After trekking to the Triangle Feb. 28 for a tussle with Duke, East Carolina heads right back to the friendly confines for the 20th iteration of the Keith LeClair Classic (March 3-5) which features games against Indiana, Long Beach State and Georgetown.
In addition to the George Washington and North Carolina series, as well as the LeClair Classic, ECU will host Liberty (March 10-12), William & Mary (March 15), Missouri State (March 17-19), George Mason (March 24-26), UNCW (March 28), NC State (April 4), Old Dominion (April 11) and Campbell (May 16) in non-conference play.
The non-league road schedule includes tilts with Queen’s University (March 7), Elon (March 8), UNCW (March 14), Campbell (March 22), Charlotte (April 19), NC State (April 25) and Old Dominion (May 9). The Pirates are also slated to play in five minor league stadiums during the regular season – Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Duke/Feb. 28), Atrium Health Park in Kannapolis, N.C. (Queen’s University/March 7), Segra Stadium in Fayetteville, N.C. (Campbell/March 27), Truist Park in Charlotte, N.C. (Charlotte/April 19) and Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va. (Old Dominion/May 9).
East Carolina begins its quest for an unprecedented fourth-straight AAC regular season championship with a series at Houston (March 31-April 2). The Pirates will also visit Wichita State (April 21-23), Cincinnati (May 5-7) and South Florida (May 18-20) to go along with home series versus UCF (April 6-8), Cincinnati (April 14-16), Tulane (April 28-30) and Memphis (May 12-14).
The American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship will once again be held at BayCare Ballpark (May 23-28) in Clearwater, Fla., – the home of the Clearwater Threshers (Class A Advanced affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies). East Carolina defeated Houston 6-1 in the championship game of the 2022 edition of the tournament.
NCAA Regional (June 2-5) and Super Regional (June 9-12) sites will be determined in May, while the College World Series will be played Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb., from June 16-26. ECU and Stanford are the only two programs in the nation to host four-straight regionals.
Godwin has guided East Carolina to six NCAA Regional berths (2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 regional hosts), four Super Regional appearances (2022 host), a pair of AAC Tournament crowns and a 304-151-1 (.668) overall record. Twenty players have earned All-America status, 23 have garnered NCAA All-Regional selections, 33 have been named to the All-American Conference lists (26 on the First Team) and 14 have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
The 2022-23 recruiting class consists of seven infielders (Cam Murphy, Dixon Williams, Nate Chrismon, Connor Rasmussen, Colby Thorndyke, Parker Byrd and Cam Burgess), one outfielder (Miles Curley), two catchers (Sam Johnson and Nick DeLisi) and seven pitchers (Lane Essary, Jonathan Childress, Tyler Bradt, Zach Root, Mason Smith, Willie Lumpkin and Landon Ginn).
ECU returns 24 players including Third-Team All-American and AAC Pitcher of the Year Carter Spivey, Freshman All-American Jacob Jenkins-Cowart and six all-conference honorees in Spivey (First Team), Lane Hoover (First Team), Cam Clonch (Second Team), Alec Makarewicz (Second Team), Garrett Saylor (Second Team) and Jacob Starling (Second Team). In all, the roster consists of 11 freshmen, 10 sophomores, 15 juniors and four seniors.