GREENVILLE, N.C. – Eighth-year head coach Cliff Godwin formally announced East Carolina baseball’s 17-man incoming class Friday, which features eight position players and nine pitchers.
The 2021-21 recruiting class consists of four infielders (Quinn Allen, Landon Howard, Jacob Jenkins-Cowart and Henry Zipay), two outfielders (Carter Cunningham and Luke Nowak), two catchers (Ayden Edwards and Ryan McCrystal) and nine pitchers (Merritt Beeker, Charlie Hodges, Jake Hunter, Jordan Little, Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman, Erik Ritchie, Ben Terwilliger, Jaden Winter and Trey Yesavage).
“We are very excited about this group of young men,” Godwin said. “This class is very talented and they will be great additions to our P.I.R.A.T.E.S. family. Coach (Jeff) Palumbo and the entire support staff did an unbelievable job putting this class together. Our main goal now is to cultivate our culture with our entire team. We are very excited about putting in a lot of work this fall so our program can continue to succeed at the highest level on and off the field.”
Godwin, a three-time American Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year honoree, has guided ECU to five NCAA Regional berths (2018, 2019 and 2021 Greenville Regional host), three Super Regional appearances, a pair of AAC regular season and tournament titles with an overall record of 258-130-1 (.665). Sixteen players have earned All-America status, while 15 were NCAA All-Regional selections, 23 were named all-conference (18 first-teamers) and 14 were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
Off the field, his teams have excelled in the classroom by registering a 3.41 or higher grade point average for the past four years, including a team-best 3.69 in the spring of 2021. That mark bested the previous program record of 3.61 (spring 2020). Under Godwin, a two-time Academic All-America selection, the Pirates have had a combined 325 selections on the ECU Director of Athletics Honor Roll (3.0 grade point average or higher). In Godwin’s seven years leading the East Carolina program, nearly 100 players have earned AAC All-Academic Team honors – including 38 of 40 members from the 2021 club.
ECU has also earned six-straight AAC and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Awards while boasting the highest team GPA of all baseball programs in The American since the 2015-16 academic year. Five players have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors since 2016 (Travis Watkins/2016 first team, Charlie Yorgen/2016 third team, Jake Agnos/2019 first team, Alec Burleson/2019 third team and 2020 first team and Matt Bridges/2021 third team). Burleson became the third player in program history to be named a two-time Academic All-America selection joining Godwin and Sam Narron.
In back-to-back years, ECU Baseball has also had a student-athlete presented with the Male Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year Award by the American Athletic Conference. Agnos was the first student-athlete in school history to win the award in 2019, which was followed by Burleson in 2020.
In the community, the Pirates have volunteered over 5,500 hours working with programs in the Pitt County area such as the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Team IMPACT, Riley’s Army, Cypress Glenn Retirement Community Flood Relief, Hurricane Relief, Red Cross, First Born Community Development Center, ACES for Autism, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital.
The new players and the veteran members of the ECU squad began fall classes Monday, Aug. 23, and will engage in a four-week period of conditioning drills and individual workouts until official team practice starts later in the fall. The complete fall schedule will be released at a later date.
The Pirates, who posted a 44-17 record in 2021, return 25 players including Freshman All-America selections C.J. Mayhue (2020), Zach Agnos (2021) and Josh Moylan (2021) along with AAC All-Conference performers Jake Kuchmaner (2019) and Bryson Worrell (2021). In all, the roster consists of 13 freshmen, 19 sophomores, five juniors and five seniors.