#18 East Carolina Baseball 2020 Preview

East Carolina Pirates
Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #1 American
 East Carolina Logo
East Carolina has hosted regionals two years in a row. Once again the Pirates should be right in the mix for hosting duties in 2020. Last season the Pirates got off to a tough start in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Quinnipiac in the opener. ECU responded nicely to that loss, winning the next four games to win the regional. However, fighting all the way back from that loss took a lot out of the Pirates and they were absolutely crushed by Louisville in the Super Regionals.
2019: 47-18, 20-4
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Cliff Godwin
Key Departed Players:
Bryant Packard, OF/DH, .358 BA, 7 HR, 40 RBI
Spencer Brickhouse, 1B/DH, .335 BA, 14 HR, 56 RBI
Jake Washer, C, .301 BA, 17 HR, 55 RBI
Turner Brown, IF, .294 BA, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 11 SB
Brady Lloyd, IF, .248 BA, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 10 SB
Jake Agnos, P, 2.29 ERA, 11-3 W/L, 102.0 IP, 145 SO
Key Returning Players:
Alec Burleson, 1B/P, .370 BA, 9 HR, 61 RBI
Thomas Francisco, IF, .319 BA, 4 HR, 26 RBI
Jake Kuchmaner, P, 2.99 ERA, 7-2 W/L, 87.1 IP, 73 SO
Alec Burleson, P, 3.28 ERA, 6-2 W/L, 60.1 IP, 68 SO, 5 SV
Tyler Smith, P, 5.57 ERA, 7-1 W/L, 74.1 IP, 49 SO
Matt Bridges, P, DNP last season
Even without Jake Agnos, East Carolina should have a dominating pitching staff. Junior Alec Burleson will look to take a step forward after going 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA last season. Jake Kuchmaner and Tyler Smith were regular starters last season. Combined, those two went 14-3, but it was Kuchmaner who posted a 2.99 ERA and showed potential heading into 2020. Speaking of potential, the hopes are very high for Gavin Williams. He is expected to displace one of the other starters in the weekend rotation. The return of Matt Bridges, who missed most of 2018 and all of 2019, and the addition of four junior college transfers will help bolster the bullpen. At the plate, it is Burleson who is the top returning hitter. In addition to his quality pitching, Burleson hit .370 with nine homeruns and 61 RBIs. Thomas Francisco also hit over .300 and has some power in his bat. Players like Seth Caddell, Ryder Giles, Lane Hoover and Bryson Worrell have some experience and now will be asked to be more consistent. The return of Christian Smallwood, who was a starter for a brief time last season before suffering an injury, and the addition of a few junior college transfers and some talented freshmen, should help fill the holes. With what should be a superb pitching staff, East Carolina will be able to find a way to generate enough runs to win the American Athletic Conference and be right in the mix to host another regional.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament