GREENVILLE (WNCT) –  Pirate baseball is traditionally a winning program.

Former Pirate standout Cliff Godwin was brought in to take that next step. The goal is and will always be Omaha with Godwin at the helm. Coach Godwin knows the preseason rankings are just a start.

“No, it’s great for our program,”said Godwin. “It’s great for our kids. It’s the highest ranking ECU has ever received but we tell our kids every day that they don’t pass out trophies in the preseason. We have to focus on getting better every single day and not worry about the outside, external noises from the media.”

Evan Kruczynski returns as the Pirate’s Friday night ace. Kruz will get the opening day start for the third straight year this Friday.

“The team is looking really good,” said Kruczynski. “We haven’t been thinking too much about Oxford. We’re just coming out here and getting ourselves ready, trusting in the process. I think we’re going to be ready for next weekend.”

Kruczynski’s battery-mate is Travis Watkins. His experience behind the dish will benefit the entire pitching staff. Watkins already owns one of the greatest moments in Pirate history with his 3-run walk-off hom run that beat defending national champion Virginia last June.

“It’s exciting,” said Watkins. “I think there is a lot of buzz on campus about East Carolina Baseball. Last year’s team earned that but we still have to go out there and prove ourselves.”

If this team does have a superstar it’s sophomore outfielder Dwanya Williams-Sutton. But this is pretty much a team without stars.

Eric Tyler will play third base. Turner Brown is at short, with Charlie Yorgen at second base. Freshman Spencer Brickhouse will play first with the injury to senior Bryce Harman.

The Pirates open the regular season with a three game series against SEC power Ole Miss beginning on Friday.