Despite disappointing season, ECU places three on all-AAC baseball first team

Catcher Travis Watkins, second baseman Charlie Yorgen and third baseman Eric Tyler were honored, taking some of the sting off the Pirates last place finish in the conference

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
ECU catcher and captain of the team Travis Watkins (19) checks his wristband during the game against NC State on Tuesday

The 2017 season has a major disappointment for the East Carolina baseball team, with presason top 10 rankings and high hopes for a return trip to an NCAA Super Regional fading into an eighth place finish in the American Athletic Conference standings. Monday, the Pirates gained at least a small measure of consolation when three of their players were voted onto the All-AAC first team. Catcher Travis Watkins, the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s NCAA regional championship win in Charlottesville, Va., was named to an All-AAC team for the second straight season. He leads ECU in eight offensive categories heading into this week’s conference tournament, including.batting average (.343), homers (9), RBI (43), runs (44). His 79 hits are second most in the conference and he is among 15 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top college catcher. Second baseman Charlie Yorgen was a unanimous selection after hitting .338 with four homers, 34 RBI, 13 doubles and seven stolen bases.Eric Tyler, meanwhile, was named the first-team third baseman with a .343 average, 38 homers and 37 runs scored while along the way, setting a school and AAC record by reaching base at least once in 39 straight games from March 11 to May 18. ECU (29-27, 7-17 AAC) will begin play in the conference tournament against top-seeded Central Florida on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Clearwater, Fla. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network. Here is the full list of AAC postseason honors:PLAYERS OF THE YEARJake Scheiner, IF, Houston (Jr., Santa Rosa, Calif.)Hunter Williams, 1B, Tulane (Sr., West Monroe, La.)PITCHERS OF THE YEARRobby Howell, RHP, UCF (Sr., Fort White, Fla.)Trey Cumbie, LHP, Houston (So., Lufkin, Texas)ROOKIE POSITION PLAYER OF THE YEARRylan Thomas, 1B, UCF (Fr., Winter Garden, Fla.) *ROOKIE PITCHER OF THE YEARMason Feole, LHP, UConn (Fr., Wakefield, R.I.)COACH OF THE YEARGreg Lovelady, UCFAll-Conference TeamFirst teamSP — Robby Howell, UCF, Sr., Fort White, Fla.SP — Tim Cate, UConn, Soph., Manchester, ConnSP — Mason Feole, UConn, Fr., Wakefield, RISP — Trey Cumbie, Houston, Soph., Lufkin, Tex.RP — Bryce Tucker, UCF, Soph., Apopka, Fla.C — Travis Watkins, ECU, Sr., Concord, NC1B — Hunter Williams, Tulane, Sr., West Monroe, La.2B — Charlie Yorgen, ECU, Sr., Richmond, Va.SS — Kevin Merrell, USF, Jr., Odessa, Fla.3B — Eric Tyler, ECU, Sr., Landis, NCOF — Eli Putnam, UCF, Sr. Palo Cedo, Calif.OF — Cory Julks, Houston, Jr., Friendswood, Tex.OF — Chris Carrier, Memphis, Sr., Memphis, Tenn.DH — Luke Borders, Sr., USF, Winter Haven, Fla.UT — Jake Scheiner, Houston, Jr., Santa Rosa, Calif.Second teamSP — William Montgomerie, UConn, Jr., Lakeville, Conn.SP — Mitch Ullom, Houston, Jr., Sweeny, Tex.SP — Phoenix Sanders, USF, Sr., Gainesville, Fla.SP — Peter Strzelecki, USF, Jr., Lake Worth, Fla.RP — John Russell, UConn, Jr., Glastonbury, Conn.C — Connor Wong, Houston, Jr., Pearland, Tex.1B — Rylan Thomas, UCF, Fr., Winter Garden, Fla.2B — Matthew Mika, UCF, Soph., Lake Worth, Fla.SS — Anthony Prato, UConn, Fr., Staten Island, NY3B — Willy Yahn, UConn, Fr., Sharon, Conn.OF — R.J. Thompson, Cincinnati, Sr., Mason, OhioOF — Duke Stunkel, USF, Jr., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.OF — Grant Brown, Tulane, Jr., Gulfport, Miss.DH — Joe Davis, Houston, Soph., Austin, Tex.UT — Ryan Noda, Cincinnati, Jr., Volo, Ill.