For the fifth time in its history, the East Carolina University baseball team has advanced to the Super Regional stage of the NCAA College Baseball Tournament. After losing its first game against Quinnipiac University, ECU (45-16, 20-4 AAC) made a comeback, winning its next four games and winning the Greenville Regional Tournament.
ECU will play the University of Louisville in a three game series at the Louisville Super Regional. The series begins on Friday at noon and will continue on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon if necessary.
If the Pirates win the series, the team will advance to its first ever appearance at the College World Series in Omaha.
Junior catcher Jake Washer came up huge for the Pirates during the series, and had one of his best postseason performances of his career during Sunday’s games. At the end of the final game of the regional, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Greenville Regional.
With three home runs on Sunday, he played a huge part in ECU’s offense, largely contributing to its defeat of North Carolina State University and Quinnipiac (30-29, 17-7 MAAC).
After the original day and time were changed due to inclement weather, ECU faced Quinnipiac on Saturday at 4 p.m. for both team’s first game of the regional.
A back and forth scoring affair ensued, as both teams were tied 1-1 during the first inning, and then at 2-2 after the fourth inning. However, Quinnipiac pulled ahead and ECU failed to tie the game, losing 5-4.
The following day, ECU took on North Carolina State University (42-19, 18-12 ACC) at 4 p.m., where both teams faced elimination from the regional.
Washer went 2 for 3 and had three runs batted in during ECU’s elimination game against NC State.
Junior pitcher Jake Agnos also contributed to ECU’s victory over the Wolfpack. Agnos tossed eight innings and only allowed one run. The junior now has a 11-2 record in starts for the season, and had nine strikeouts during the game.
Adding those strikeouts to his career total, Agnos tied the American Athletic Conference record for career strikeouts, with 290.
A six-run third inning pushed the Pirates ahead, with freshman infielder Ryder Giles getting a single to start the scoring.
After several singles to score four more Pirates, a wild pitch by NC State pitcher Nick Swiney allowed Brady Lloyd to steal home, making it 6-1.
ECU was victorious with a final score of 9-2 and eliminated NC State from the Regional.
Several hours later, ECU played Quinnipiac University at 8 p.m. to decide which team would play Campbell University in the Regional Final.
Like he had been doing all tournament, Washer continued to play well for the Pirates. He hit 2 for 4, with four runs batted in and also blasted two home runs.
After scoring four runs in the third inning, it was hard to stop the Pirates once they got rolling offensively. They scored seven more runs without any from Quinnipiac until the ninth inning.
At that point, the deficit was too large for the Bobcats, and ECU won 13-3 and advanced to the championship.
Against Campbell (37-21, 19-6 Big South), the Camels took a 2-1 lead after the first inning, but ECU quickly came back. The Pirates managed to score eight runs without Campbell scoring, including four runs during the fifth inning.
With junior outfielder Bryant Packard leading the charge, the Pirates defeated the Camels to force an elimination game later that night.
The final game began at 7 p.m. with advancement to the Super Regional stage on the line. ECU slowly chipped away at Campbell, scoring five runs in the first three innings.
Campbell didn’t score until the fourth inning, and began to come back with two runs in the fifth inning. Sophomore pitcher Jake Kuchmaner prevented any further damage, tossing about three scoreless innings and only allowed one hit.
ECU scored six runs in the final two innings, and held Campbell from any comeback to win 12-3 and clinch a spot in the Super Regionals.
Looking ahead, the Pirates will travel to Kentucky to face Louisville (47-16, 21-9 ACC) in a three game series to decide which team goes to the College World Series.