12/21/09 — Pirates ranked in two preseason polls

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Pirates ranked in two preseason polls

By ECU Sports Information
Published in Sports on December 21, 2009 1:46 PM

ECU Sports Information

GREENVILLE -- East Carolina is ranked in two preseason top 20 baseball polls -- No. 18 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 20 by Ping! Baseball.

The 2009 regular-season CUSA champion, East Carolina posted 46 victories last season and won the Greenville Regional title before falling to in-state rival North Carolina in an NCAA Super Regional.

The Pirates welcome back 20 letterwinners including 2010 preseason All-America selections Kyle Roller and Trent Whitehead. Also returning are 2008 All-American Seth Maness, 2009 Freshman All-American Kevin Brandt, All C-USA second-teamer Brad Mincey and eighth-round and NCAA Greenville Regional star Devin Harris.

Stepping onto the diamond are eight new faces, which consist of junior college transfer Daniel Warzon (Young Harris), as well as seven freshmen: Bryan Bass, Chris Gosik, Jake Harris, D.J. Jauss, Tyler Joyner, Tanner Merritt and Eastern Wayne graduate John Wooten. Wooten helped lead the Warriors to a runner-up finish against Lake Norman in the 2009 N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state championship series.

A year ago, the Pirates landed the most All C-USA selections with seven, including a league-best five first-teamers in Stephen Batts, Chris Heston, Ryan Wood, Maness and Roller. Mincey and Whitehead were named second-team All C-USA and Brandt became the 12th Pirate selected to the All-Freshman squad since 2002.

Head Coach Billy Godwin, who ranks fourth on ECU's all-time wins list with 161 victories, was named Keith LeClair Coach-of-the-Year after guiding the Pirates to their first regular-season C-USA crown since 2004. In four years at the helm of the baseball program, Godwin has led the Pirates to three consecutive NCAA appearances, became the second coach in school history to win 40-plus games in three consecutive seasons (Keith LeClair 1999-2002) and has had 15 players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The Pirates begin spring practice Jan. 29, 2010. The season opener is Feb. 19 against reigning Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia.