East Carolina University’s Club Baseball team won its first ever national championship by defeating Florida State 10-3 on June 2 in the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) World Series title game. It was the Pirates’ first trip to the World Series and it will go down as a memorable one.
“It’s a moment that I will never forget,” said Joe Caracci, ECU club baseball head coach. “I just sat there on the bench and took it all in. It was surreal.”
Trailing 3-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth, ECU exploded by scoring eight runs against Seminole starter Kevin McCourt to take a 9-3 lead and the Pirates never looked back. In all, 12 ECU Pirates batted in the fifth inning including two game changing hits by MJ Mackey and Brian Burgess which drove in two runs each and blew the game wide open.
For his efforts throughout the tournament and in the championship contest, Mackey was named the NCBA World Series MVP. For the series, the Beaufort County product hit an incredible .429 with two triples, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle of such a wild fifth inning was the performance of pitcher Zach Woodley, who picked up two wins in the tournament including seven strong innings where he limited FSU to just three runs in the championship.
“What an unbelievable tournament for Woodley,” said Caracci. “We honestly did not know what we would get out of him in the series because he didn’t pitch in the regional due to arm and back problems. But he really came through for us in a huge way.”
ECU opened the World Series with 4-2 win over their championship opponent FSU. It was then followed by a 14-2 shellacking of the tournament’s number one seed UC-Santa Barbara. The Pirates then stumbled against UCSB in an 11-8 loss before defeating the Gauchos 12-7 in the national semifinal.
The Pirates finished their dream season 29-8 overall.
“When I took over four years ago I had a vision,” said Caracci. “All of the guys that have come and gone through this program were a part of that vision. They laid the foundation for something special. The guys on this team made sure that their efforts were not in vain.”
For more information about the ECU Club Baseball program, visit www.ecu.edu/crw or call (252) 328-6387.
Contact: Gray Hodges, ECU Club Sports (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Telephone: (252) 328-1576