ECU carries momentum into Raleigh

Published 4:19 pm Monday, March 31, 2014




By Michael Prunka

For The Washington Daily News


East Carolina (17-11, 6-3 Conference-USA), coming off seven straight wins, hits the road Wednesday for the first of two meetings with North Carolina State (15-11, 3-9 ACC). The Pirates will look to continue building momentum with a win over their in-state rival.

The two squads are trending in opposite directions. While ECU has won seven in a row and swept its last two series, N.C. State has been skidding as of late. The Wolfpack has lost nine of its last 10 and has been swept in all three of its last series.

Even though N.C. State hasn’t been in form recently, it’s always a challenge taking on a team that has experience in Omaha. The Wolfpack made it all the way to last season’s College World Series and won the first game against North Carolina, but ended up losing consecutive games.  UCLA edged them, 2-1, and UNC shut them out, 7-0.

“It’s a good time,” said manager Billy Godwin. “I always tell them it’s a great opportunity and a good challenge for our team to go over there and play at N.C. State. It’s my ninth year, so this isn’t my first time over there. I know what it’s about, but we’ve got a lot of new players and it’ll be their first time going into that kind of environment.”

Charlie Yorgen is one of the newcomers entering that environment for the first time. Yorgen has been impressive since making his debut at second base a few weeks ago. In Friday’s doubleheader versus UMBC, he turned an incredible double play late in the eighth inning of Game 2. In Sunday’s series’ finale, Yorgen nailed the RBI triple that gave ECU the go-ahead run.

“Honestly, I have no idea what to expect,” said Yorgen. “It’s N.C. State and they’ve been unbelievable these past couple of years. They’ve got good guys like [Carlos] Rodon and [Trea] Turner. I’m really just excited. I want to see the atmosphere. I want to see the competition. It should be a lot of fun.”

ECU will need offensive production from all its players—new and old. N.C. State has three starters batting above .300. Andrew Knizner, Brett Austin and Trea Turner combine for 59 runs and 43 RBI on 101 hits.

First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Doak Field in Raleigh. The game can be followed on TV on ESPN3 and on the radio on WNCT 1070 AM.