ECU to face Liberty in season opener
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Though temperatures will only be hovering around the 50-degree range this weekend, the action should be hot at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The East Carolina Pirates, 33-26 a year ago, open the season against the Liberty Flames. ECU second-year coach Billy Godwin, who needs five more wins to reach 300 in his overall coaching career (295-111 entering his eighth season) said he’s anxious to take the field.
The Pirates will face a Liberty team that was picked to finish fifth in the Big South Conference. The Flames were 39-21 last year, setting a new Division I school record for victories.
The Pirates are 4-0 against Liberty in their series.
Godwin said he’s just happy to see his team face off against somebody.
Aaron Grijalva is the top returning hitter for the Flames. He hit seven home runs and drove in 51 runs while hitting .347 last year.
Ryan Page is also back for the Flames. Page went 9-2 with a 3.59 ERA a year ago.
Tim John also returns after going 7-3 with a 3.67 ERA.
T.J. Hose will get the call for today’s opening game. The ECU junior right-hander was 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA last season
Jeff Ostrander will pitch in Saturday’s game. The senior southpaw was red-shirted last year. He went 2-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 2005 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Dustin Sasser will get the nod for Sunday’s contest. A junior lefty, Sasser was 5-7 with a 4.55 ERA a year ago.
Some of ECU’s top returning hitters include Harrison Eldridge (.336), Stephen Batts (.336), Brandon Henderson (.326), Jake Dean (.311) and Dale Mollenhauer (.292).
Godwin was still tweaking his lineup heading into today’s game. The ECU coach said he’ll make his final decision shortly before the first pitch.
Today’s game begins at 3 p.m., followed by Saturday’s contest at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s game at 1 p.m.