No. 11 ECU took two out of three over Tulane at home over the weekend. Here are five takeaways from the series win:
- Widening the gap: The significance of this series coming into the weekend was clear: A battle between No. 1 and No. 2 in the AAC. ECU had dominated every team throughout the conference schedule en route to an 11-1 start. Surely that would change with Tulane coming to town, right? That became an emphatic no. ECU outscored the Green Wave 22-2 through the first two games, which weren’t even competitive. Tulane did win Sunday’s game 9-8 to avoid the sweep, but that’s still two out of three from the closest team to you in the standings. That’s what you want. It’s ECU at the top of the AAC and then there’s everybody else way behind right now.
- The dynamic duo of Jake’s: ECU has one heck of a 1-2 starting pitching punch going right now. Jake Agnos was last week’s National pitcher-of-the-week after 8.2 innings and 14 K’s. Jake Kuchmaner threw the 29th perfect game in college baseball history earlier in the season against Maryland. Agnos was a little more mortal against Tulane but still went 5.0 scoreless innings. Kuchmaner went 8.1 innings and allowed only one run. Who wouldn’t want those two pitching on Friday and Saturday right now?
- A stifled offense: The Tulane offense has been highly touted and for good reason. As a team, Tulane came into the weekend as second in the country in home runs, 10th in hits, and eighth in runs. Yet they scored just two runs through the first two games and only got going against ECU’s No. 3 starting pitcher and two relievers. On the other side, the ECU offense continues to roll with the big bats at the top of the lineup (Packard, Brickhouse, Burleson) leading the charge.
- Delay shenanigans: We all know ECU has been struck hard by weather and changes throughout the season. ECU had Friday’s game, originally set for 6:30 p.m. moved back to 8 p.m. because of thunderstorms and lightning in the area. The game began at 8 but made it past just one batter before a section of lights behind home plate went out and kicked off a 19-minute delay to get the lights back on. During the delay, ECU players decided to play a little baseball on the side. Outfielder Bryant Packard pitched to Garrett Saylor and Spencer Brickhouse, with Jake Washer catching him and Alec Burleson serving as an umpire. Highlights? Packard with a high leg kick windup, a mean behind-the-back strikeout pitch, and Brickhouse being unhappy with Burleson’s exaggerated strike three call. That showed again the fun, loose group of kids that make up one of the best baseball teams in the country.
- Careful what you ask for: After Saturday’s 8-2 win, ECU head coach Cliff Godwin said that while ECU had been playing well so far in their conference schedule, it could all go away like *snaps his finger* that. Godwin must have known that Avenger’s Endgame was in theaters and that is a huge storyline for the film. Regardless, ECU then lost 9-8 on Sunday and had two streaks snapped, an eight-game winning streak and a 14-game home winning streak. Let’s hope that’s just a one-game aberration, and that ECU’s success this season doesn’t actually go away with a snap of the finger.