ECU’s newcomers driving success

Published 12:44 am Saturday, April 5, 2014




By Michael Prunka

For The Washington Daily News

At the halfway point of the season, East Carolina is firmly above the .500 mark, and much of the team’s success leading up to this point, especially this past weekend, is attributed to the performance of its newcomers.

Freshmen and transfers alike continue to make an impact. Ian Townsend quickly solidified himself as a hard-hitting threat at the plate, while Bryce Harman, Hunter Allen and Eric Tyler have already demonstrated exceptional skill in the field.

“I think those guys have done a great job,” said manager Billy Godwin. “We knew we were going to have to have some new guys step up. We brought in 16 new players. That’s almost a 50-percent roster change.”

“We were counting on Townsend,” added Godwin. “Sometimes you don’t know what the freshmen are going to do. A guy like Charlie Yorgen, who came out every day and worked really hard, insert him in there and it just takes off. Those guys are a huge part of our turnaround right here and why we’re playing well.”

Yorgen proved this past weekend that he’s a threat in all areas of the game. He’s made a significant impact since earning a spot a few weeks ago as the team’s starting second baseman. With Townsend being uncharacteristically quiet at the plate in the series against UMBC, Yorgen also picked up some of the scoring slack.

“One of the things I mentioned in the locker room before the game is inserting Charlie in there,” said Godwin. “He’s done a great job for us. You talk about his defense, but I think one of the things he’s done is he doesn’t punch out. He got in a two-strike count (Sunday) and got a pitch that was elevated and was able to drill it.”

The aforementioned hit that Yorgen patiently awaited was an RBI triple in the eighth inning of Sunday’s series finale versus the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. It proved to be the winning run in the 2-1 contest. He finished the three-game series 5-for-10 at the plate with three runs and four RBI,

But that wasn’t Yorgen’s only highlight reel play of the weekend. In Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader, Yorgen halted what could have been a late-game comeback effort. With UMBC players on first and second base, Yorgen nabbed the ball and, while sitting on the ground behind second, blindly tossed it over his shoulder to shortstop Hunter Allen, who then got it to Bryce Harman at first base for the double play.

“It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun,” said Yorgen regarding the amount of playing time he’s been getting. “It’s getting back to playing baseball. Sitting really made me appreciate being out there every day, so it’s been a lot of fun for us.”

The combination of team veterans and new blood has proven successful for the Pirates. That said, the team will need both newer and older faces to continue building momentum through the second half of the season.