Pirates set for 6th Annual Keith LeClair Classic

Published 6:25 am Friday, February 27, 2009

By Staff
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — East Carolina head coach Billy Godwin is making sure his players understand the magnitude of the 6th annual Keith LeClair Classic, specifically the former ECU coach in which the tournament is named.
LeClair, who wore No. 23 for the Pirates, lost a courageous battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Brandon Henderson, a senior first baseman, was awarded the No. 23 jersey this year. Henderson is looking to help pay tribute to LeClair this weekend.
The No. 23 Pirates will face St. John’s at 5 p.m. today, No. 11 Oklahoma State at 3 p.m. Saturday and College of Charleston at 2 p.m. Sunday.
ECU, off to its best start since starting the 2004 season 12-0, got solid outings from each starting pitcher last weekend.
Seth Maness (1-0, 1.29 ERA), who will start today’s game against St. John’s, and Chris Heston (1-0, 1.29 ERA), who will get the nod in Saturday’s rematch with Oklahoma State, were solid. Mike Anderson (0-0, 3.38 ERA) settled down after a rough start in Sunday’s outing. He’ll get the ball when the Pirates take on the College of Charleston in Sunday’s final game of the Classic.
The St. John’s Red Storm enter the tournament with a 2-1 record. St. John’s topped Penn State and Iowa before falling to Michigan in the Big East-Big Ten Challenge.
Sophomore third baseman Greg Hopkins was named the Big East Player of the Week for his play. He hit .538 with three doubles, a triple and two RBIs.
Other top hitters for St. John’s, hitting .391 collectively, are Danny Benedetti (.600), Brian Kemp (.500, three RBIs), Tim Morris (.462, six RBIs), Gino Matias (.455, five RBIs), Joe Witkowski (.429), Jimmy Parque (.400, 1 HR, 6 RBIs), Joe Panik (.364, 4 RBIs) and Carlos Del Rosario (.300, 4 RBIs).
Saturday’s game against the Cowboys will be a rematch from Thursday’s game.
The College of Charleston Cougars (3-1) started the season with a three-game sweep of Miami of Ohio, before falling to UNC-Wilmington.
The Cougars, hitting .333 as a team, saw Matt Mansilla and Joash Brodin get off to solid starts. Brodin, named the Southern Conference Baseball Player of the, hit .500 with two home runs and seven RBI’s. Mansilla also hit .500 to go with a pair of home runs and five RBIs.
Other top hitters for the Cougars are Joey Bergman (.385, three RBIs), Cole Rakar (.375, 1 HR, 6 RBIs), Mike Hentz (.375, 1 HR, 2 RBIs) and Clay McCord (.313, three RBIs).