Though they may still make a run in the AAC tournament, I think it is about time to officially bury East Carolina this season. The Pirates headed into this season as a top 10 national program with nothing but positive predictions from the national media.
If you only looked at ECU’s non-conference record, you might say they are solid with a chance to make some noise in the postseason. Once you add in the AAC record, it is clear that the Pirates will not be heading to the postseason this spring. With six AAC games left on the schedule, they sit at 4-14 in conference play and two games behind the second worst team in the conference this season.
Many different causes can be thrown out for their misery this spring, but the pitching staff never found its groove. Only Chris Holba has an ERA under 3.00 (2.13) and the pitching staff as a whole has a 4.54 ERA, good for #121 nationally. That is just not good enough for the Pirates to live up to expectations.
Goodbye, East Carolina.
Current Top 25 Programs (Baseball America Poll):
- Long Beach State (30-15, #8): For the time being, this is about the best the Dirtbags can hope for in the rankings. They won two of three and saw a couple of SEC programs jump them after other teams faltered. Such is the life of a Big West program compared to the haves of the NCAA. It’s put up or shut up time for LBSU this weekend as they make the cross-country trip to the heartland of America to face Minnesota. A sweep there could increase the national profile and do quite a bit towards a possible national seed in the NCAA tournament.
- Cal State Fullerton (28-16, #14): The Titans just continue to stroll along winning two of three (except versus Cal Poly) and hold steady at #14. The offense is starting to look deadly, a huge plus with the pitching always being above standard. Sure, Connor Seabold would like some run support after sporting a 7-4 record with a 2.81 ERA. On other teams, he could easily be 10-0 or better. Take a chance and watch closer Brett Conine. He has 10 saves and has given up only two earned runs in 30.1 innings pitched this season (0.59 ERA).
- Southern Miss (37-12, #19): The Golden Eagles have it all this season. They are 37-12 with a 15-5 conference record, have good pitching, and can mash the ball. This is a team that is batting .310 with 66 homeruns. Matt Wallner and Taylor Braley have a combined 26 dingers, 91 RBI, 74 walks. Reliever Nick Sandlin has stepped into a bigger role this season and only has an 8-1 record, 60 strikeouts, and a .188 batting average against. He will surely be named to the All-CUSA team at season’s end.
- South Florida (37-10, #23): All season long, the Bulls have heard the nation sing the praises of fellow AAC programs. From East Carolina getting a top 10 preseason ranking, to Houston and that pitching staff, to Connecticut breaking the top 25, and even Tulane getting a day or two in the sun, the story has never been USF. Well, ignore them no longer…. South Florida is for real. They have a chance to introduce themselves to the nation tonight if they can beat #7 Florida in Gainesville .
Others to watch:
- Binghamton (26-9), Houston (30-17), Central Florida (33-15), Florida Gulf Coast (31-16), North Florida (32-17), Florida Atlantic (29-16), Old Dominion (32-14), Louisiana Tech (32-15), Wright State (32-15), Illinois-Chicago (32-12), Kent State (31-13), Missouri State (33-14), Dallas Baptist (30-17), San Diego State (34-15), Tennessee Tech (34-15), Morehead State (30-18), Navy (37-15), Mercer (36-11), McNeese State (31-15), Sam Houston State (31-17), Southeastern Louisiana (31-16), Jackson State (36-14), Oral Roberts (33-13), Coastal Carolina (30-16), BYU (29-14), San Diego (29-16), Loyola Marymount (30-14), Saint Mary’s (30-17), New Mexico State (30-19).
- Keston Hiura, UC Irvine: .416
- Dylan Burdeaux, Southern Miss: 81
- Niko Hulsizer, Morehead State: 21
On Base Percentage:
- Keston Hiura, UC Irvine: .558
- Jackson Ware, Mercer: 20
- Drew Butler, Campbell: 33
- Robbie Podorsky, McNeese State: 33
- Bradley Haslam, Air Force: 63
- Brandon Marsonek, Alabama A&M: 36
- Brandon Marsonek, Alabama A&M: 123
Strikeouts Per Nine Innings:
- Seth Romero, Houston: 15.72