Two big-time breakout stars for the No. 6 ECU baseball team drove their series win over AAC foe Memphis this weekend at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Those two players not only helped the team but also padded their resumes big time as they’re in the hunt for individual hardware.
Sophomore Alec Burleson and Junior Jake Agnos were both named semifinalist for awards on Thursday before the series began. For Agnos it’s the Pitcher-of-the-Year and for Burleson, it’s the John Olerud Two-Way Player-of-the-Year.
On the same day he’s named a semifinalist, Agnos padded the resume by dazzling in his start. Agnos broke both the ECU and AAC single-season strikeout record by sitting down 10 hitters. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. Agnos has struck out 10 or more batters five different times this season and ended the season on a streak of 30 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. He earned a curtain call ovation late in the game after his records were announced to the crowd.
Agnos final regular season numbers were: 9-2 record, 2.06 ERA, 124 strikeouts, 63 hits allowed, 22 runs (19 earned) allowed across 83 innings pitched. Those numbers were much-improved from two inconsistent seasons prior. The only chink in his armor all season was the seven home runs he allowed.
Burleson got his big day at the plate in Saturday’s 10-9 loss. Burleson launched two home runs and drove in three runs in a 3-for-5 game. That came on the heels of driving in two runs during Friday’s win (a win that came by a margin of two runs). Burleson, of course, pitched on Friday as well, throwing a perfect ninth inning to get his fifth save of the season.
Burleson ended the regular season with a 5-1 record and five saves, with a 3.18 ERA. At the plate, Burleson had eight home runs, 52 RBI, 20 doubles and a .363 average. Burleson threw about nine more innings last season but had a higher ERA, and he got almost 100 more plate appearances this season and his average increased by over one hundred full points. He began the season hot at the plate and didn’t dip below a .400 average until the Houston series at the beginning of April.
Thomas Franciso had a bit of an unheralded coming out party in this series as well. Francisco went 7-for-11 in the series, driving in four runs.
These individual performances are part of the 2019 ECU team that has broken records for most wins in AAC play and most wins in a regular season in Pirate history. ECU finished the season 42-13 after losing Saturday 10-9 to Memphis but taking the first two games of the series. ECU finished 20-4 in AAC play, a record for wins in the conference season.