After one of the most successful seasons in program history, the Niners are going back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011! Charlotte, who has been ranked as high as #15 this season, was selected as the number 2 seed in the Greenville Regional on Monday, marking the highest seeding the program has ever earned. After winning the C-USA Regular Season with a record of 24-8 and an overall record of 39-19, the Niners were rewarded with an extremely drivable regional that gives fans the opportunity to follow the team on the road.
- The NCAA Tournament field has four Conference USA teams (#1 ODU, #1 LaTech, #2 Southern Miss), and three of the 49ers’ non-conference opponents (#1 Tennessee, #1 ECU, #3 North Carolina). The 49ers record vs 2021 NCAA Tournament teams is 6-7 with wins over ODU, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
- This will be the sixth NCAA Tournament Appearance in the program’s history (1993, 1998, 2007, 2008, 2011) and the Niners have a 3-10 record overall in NCAA Tourney play.
- The highest RPI that the 49ers have finished a season with is 40 in 2007. They currently sit at 29.
Before we take a look at the competition in the Greenville Regional we need to recognize the 49ers who were honored by Conference USA for their great season so far.
- Austin Knight– Conference USA Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference
- Robert Woodard – Keith LeClair Conference USA Coach of the Year
- Bryce McGowan – 1st Team All-Conference
- Christian Lothes – 1st Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team
- Aaron McKeithan – 2nd Team All-Conference
- Will Butcher – 2nd Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team
- LuJames Groover III – All-Freshman Team
- David McCabe – All-Academic Team
Now, lets take a look at the teams participating in the Greenville Regional. East Carolina is the host and #1 Seed, Charlotte is #2, Maryland is the #3, and Norfolk State is the 4 seed. First we can get a “bird’s eye view” of the four teams by taking a broad look at a few season long stats. Keep in mind that the 49ers played 58 games, ECU played 56 games, Norfolk State played 51 games, and Maryland played only 44 games.
Below are a few notes we have compiled on the the 3 teams that the Niners could face this weekend in the regional. We will start with the host, the East Carolina Pirates.
REGIONAL SEED #1 – East Carolina
- CONFERENCE: American Athletic Conference (Finished 1st)
- 2021 RPI: 15; 2021 RECORD: (41-15)
- 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 5-32
- Head Coach Cliff Godwin (255-128-1) is in his 7th season as Head Coach of the Pirates. Godwin was named AAC Coach of the Year in 2021, the third time he has won the award. This will be the 5th regional that he has led the Pirates to and he has also led the Pirates to two Super Regionals.
- Charlotte fans know the Pirates very well after playing them six times over the past two seasons. ECU swept a March weekend series from the Niners in Greenville with 7-4, 3-1, & 3-1 victories.
- ECU Second Baseman Connor Norby was named the AAC Player of the Year. He batted .428 on the season with 15 HR, 51 RBI, and 15 SB. Norby was 5 for 11 in the March series against Charlotte with two big HRs.
- ECU RHP Gavin Williams was named the AAC Pitcher of the Year after going 10-0 with 108 Ks, and a ERA of 1.32. Williams pitched 3.2 innings in relief against the Niners back in March. The Pirates’ ace allowed 2 ER on 3 Hits , and struck out 5 to pick up the Save in a 7-4 win over Charlotte.
- Other Pirates named All AAC were Freshman DH Josh Moylan (1st Team), Sophomore First Baseman Thomas Francisco (2nd Team), Freshman Third Baseman Zach Agnos (2nd Team), Junior Outfielder Bryson Worrell (2nd Team) and Senior RH reliever Cam Colmore (2nd Team)
- Freshman LHP Carson Whisenhunt was the number two starter for ECU this season and was 6-1 in 11 starts with 72 Ks and a 3.52 ERA this season. Against Charlotte this season he pitched 7 shutout innings and struck out 9 in a 3-1 Pirates win.
- Colmore is a solid arm out of the Pirate bullpen with a 1.85 ERA over 26 appearances.
- The Pirates offense is led by Norby, Francisco (.368, 12 HR, 60 Runs), Moylan (.321), Agnos (.275, 14 Doubles), and Worrell (12 Doubles, 9 SB).
- This is the third straight season that ECU has hosted a regional. They are 40-62 all time in NCAA Tournament games.
- Common Opponents and ECU’s Record Against them in 2021: ODU 0-1, App St 3-0, UNCW 0-1, UNC 1-1.
REGIONAL SEED #3 – Maryland
- CONFERENCE: Big Ten (Finished 2nd)
- 2021 RPI: 59; 2021 RECORD: 28-16
- 49ers ALL TIME RECORD: 1st Meeting
- Head Coach Rob Vaughn (91-80) is finishing his fourth season as Maryland’s head coach. He is one of the youngest coaches in college baseball at 33. This is his first winning season at Maryland.
- Maryland has seven NCAA Appearances in their program history, most recently in the Winston-Salem Regional in 2017. Their overall record in the NCAA is 9-13.
- Six Maryland players earned All Big Ten honors: SS Benjamin Cowles (First Team), OF Chris Alleyne, (Second Team), Lefty Reliever Ryan Ramsey (Second Team), 2B Matthew Shaw (Freshman Team), RHP Jason Savacool (Freshman Team), and DH Luke Shliger (Freshman Team).
- Maryland’s starting weekend rotation has started with Sophomore RHP Nick Dean & Freshman RHP Jason Savacool over the last several weeks of the season. Dean is 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 9 starts over the season but missed his last start due to a wrist injury. Savacool is 7-2 in 13 starts with a 5.25 ERA on the season. It appears that Sophomore RHP Sean Burke would be next in line to start for the Terrapins.
- The Terrapin’s bullpen is anchored by Sophomore LHP Ryan Ramsey who has 39 Ks and a 1.82 ERA over 13 relief appearances.
- Offensively, the Terps are led by Cowles (17 HR, 49 RBI, 9 SB), Alleyene (47 Runs, 22 SB, 8 HR), and Shaw (.335, 15 Doubles).
- 49er Nick Turnbull pitched one season for the Terrapins before coming to Charlotte. He made 19 appearances for Maryland and struck out 17 in 2019.
- Maryland is one of 3 teams from the Big Ten to be selected into the NCAA Tournament (Nebraska, Michigan). The Big Ten only played conference games during the 2021 season, so Friday’s game will be Maryland’s first non-conference game of the season.
- Maryland finished their season winning 18 of their last 22 games.
REGIONAL SEED #4 – Norfolk State
- CONFERENCE: MEAC (Finished 1st in Northern Division; Won MEAC Tournament)
- 2021 RPI: 260; 2021 RECORD: 25-26 (18-10 in MEAC)
- 49ers ALL TIME RECORD: 0-0
- Coach Keith Shumate is in his fourth season as NSU head baseball coach. Previously coached at NC A&T and Louisburg College. His son Kory redshirted for the 49ers in 2013.
- Norfolk State senior RHP/ SS/ C Danny Hosley was voted the 2021 MEAC Player of the Year. He was named 1st Team All-MEAC at SS and was also Second-team All-MEAC pitcher. He batted .375 with 23 RBI, and 9 SB this season. On the mound he was 7-1 over 10 starts wit ha 2.95 ERA and 79 Ks.
- Also making the All MEAC Teams were Senior second baseman Alsander Womack (2nd Team), Senior first baseman Mason Velasquez (2nd Team), junior outfielder Dionte Brown (2nd Team),and junior LHP James Deloatch (3rd Team).
- Alsander Womack (.358, 50 Runs, 17 SB) is the son of former major leaguer Tony Womack.
- NSU’s rotation has been LHP Deloatch, RHP Hosley, RHP Justin Walton, & Freshman LHP Dalton Barham
- Norfolk State has 13 Seniors on the roster.
- This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history for Norfolk State.
- Common Opponents and NSU’s Record Against them in 2021: at ODU 0-4, Morehead St 1-3.
- All games will be broadcast by the ESPN family of networks. If you don’t have an ESPN+ subscription, now might be a good time to sign up.
- On the other hand, it appears that there are still outfield GA tickets available through the ECU ticket office. Grab some, put on some green, and head down to Greenville this weekend. Regional Tickets
- If you do decide to head down, don’t be surprised if hotel rooms are at a premium. As it happens, the NC Republican Party is having a meeting in Greenville this weekend. In fact, Donald Trump will be speaking in town on Saturday night. If you’re looking for a room, consider towns near Greenville such as Rocky Mount or Wilson. We booked an Airbnb in Kinston about 40 minutes away.
- If you are in Greenville this weekend, come tailgate with us before the games. We plan on picking up some good Eastern NC BBQ on the way in on Friday and making a go of it prior to the game. We hope to be in the Belk Building lot near the stadium. It’s a public lot and will cost $10. That’s lot #6 on this map: ECU Baseball Parking
- Fans will want to keep an eye on the forecast for the weekend. There’s currently an 80% chance of rain in Greenville for Friday so there’s the potential for the schedule to be impacted. If you’re attending in person, plan accordingly. Greenville Weekend Forecast
This is it, Niner Nation. A weekend a decade in the making. If you are aren’t fired up yet, we can’t help you. We will, however, leave you with this thought: