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Red-hot Pirates win 10th straight

ECU Notebook

By Stephen Igoe

Special to the Times
Posted 3/9/17

CHARLESTON — There isn’t much that can stop East Carolina’s red-hot baseball team right now.

The Pirates rattled off their 10th consecutive victory on Wednesday, outslugging College of Charleston 15-12 to finish a two-game …

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Red-hot Pirates win 10th straight

ECU Notebook

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Posted
CHARLESTON — There isn’t much that can stop East Carolina’s red-hot baseball team right now.

The Pirates rattled off their 10th consecutive victory on Wednesday, outslugging College of Charleston 15-12 to finish a two-game midweek sweep inside the Ballpark at Patriots Point.

After starting 0-3 after a sweep at the hands of Top 25 foe Ole Miss, ECU hasn’t lost since, running its record to 10-3. The Pirates swept the 14th annual Keith LeClair Classic field last weekend, dispatching instate foes Appalachian State and Western Carolina, and No. 16 St. John’s, which was previously undefeated.

The national polls have rewarded East Carolina for its early season success, placing the Pirates as high as No. 8 nationally (Baseball America). Multiple other polls also have them ranked 10th.

Freshman Spencer Brickhouse continued his torrid start to the season at Charleston, mashing three home runs in two games, including a two-homer performance on Wednesday.

Brickhouse, a highly-regarded first baseman from Bunn High School who played for Wilson American Legion Post 13 the past two summers, is now hitting .362 with four home runs and 11 RBIs.

Trailing 12-7 in the middle innings on Wednesday, Turner Brown’s grand slam sparked a seven-run sixth for the Pirates, turning the five-run deficit into a 14-12 advantage.

Matt Bridges was the lone ECU pitcher to find success on the mound in Charleston, entering in the sixth and tossing four shutout innings to preserve the victory.

ECU, which won 12-7 on Tuesday, racked up 27 runs, 32 hits and seven home runs in the two-game series.

The Pirates will look to continue their hot streak this weekend when they host Charlotte at home for a three-game series beginning on Friday.

INJURY UPDATES

The scary thing for East Carolina’s upcoming opponents? The Pirates have gone on this streak without two of their key contributors.

Wilson native and sophomore Dwanya Williams-Sutton injured his thumb sliding into second base at Campbell two weeks ago and is expected to miss at least a few more weeks.

Head coach Cliff Godwin said Williams-Sutton, a freshman All-American last season, will be out indefinitely before being re-evaluated. Williams-Sutton has been seen in the dugout wearing a cast around his thumb.

Senior first baseman Bryce Harman, projected to be the Pirates’ cleanup hitter, has yet to play this season after spraining his wrist in preseason workouts, although he could be closing in on a return.

Harman has started to resume baseball activities this week, but the Pirates won’t rush him back.

“He’s going to take some swings this week and we’ll see how he does,” Godwin said. “It’s a fine line. We want him back, but we also want him 100-percent healthy for conference play, so we won’t rush him back.”

FOOTBALL STAFF COMPLETE

Second-year head coach Scottie Montgomery has finally filled out his coaching staff with less than weeks until the start of spring practice.

Keith Gaither who has more than 20 years of experience coaching, has been hired as the team’s wide receivers coach, Montgomery announced.

Gaither spent the last two seasons at Army before joining Temple’s staff in January. Gaither also coached Ball State from 2011 to 2014. 

An alumnus of Elon, Gaither was an assistant coach with the Phoenix from 2009-10, so he has ties to North Carolina.

“Keith’s background of success at all levels not only speaks highly of his coaching ability, but also his aptitude to understand, implement and value various offensive philosophies,” Montgomery said. “His recruiting ties, especially across North Carolina, run deep and will impact our program significantly.”

Gaither has also spent time as a defensive backs coach with Greensboro College, Tusculum (Tennessee) College and Winston-Salem State.

The hiring of Gaither comes on the heels of ECU missing out on the man it originally intended to hire for the position: Former Purdue interim head coach Gerad Parker, who was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in February just before the hire was set to become official.

Former Pirate wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan left for the Buffalo Bills in January.

ECU begins spring ball March 20.

Stephen Igoe is the publisher of the East Carolina 247Sports website Hoist The Colours. Check out more of his work at eastcarolina.247sports.com.

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