Oct. 23, 2013


Maness first Pirate in World Series

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

sean@collegebaseballinsider.com @collbaseball


In 2009, a sophomore at East Carolina frustrated a loaded North Carolina lineup for five innings in the first game of the Chapel Hill Super Regional.


Seth Maness (right) and the Pirates didn’t win that day – the Tar Heels used a couple of bloop hits and a couple of ECU mistakes on bunt coverages to score seven times in the sixth inning to chase the right-hander. But it was clear Maness was a special college pitcher, one who won eight games to open his career en route to a 9-2 freshman campaign and finished 9-3 after that loss in Chapel Hill. He added two 10-win seasons to finish his ECU career with a school-record 38 wins (24-5 in Conference USA) and also set school marks in strikeouts (334), starts (61) and innings (411.2).


Fast forward three short seasons, and Maness is the first Pirates player to reach the World Series. After posting a 14-4 record in six brief Minor League stops, St. Louis called up their 11th round pick of the 2011 draft. Maness responded by going 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 66 games for the Cardinals.


East Carolina coach Billy Godwin (left) remembers encouraging Major League scouts to take a look at Maness, but not many teams seemed that interested. Godwin fielded a few questions from CollegeBaseballInsider.com about his former ace.


1. What led you and your staff to recruit Seth, and what was he like as a pitcher when he arrived at East Carolina?

We saw him about five times, and he always won and didn't get hit hard. He was a very good athlete that had outstanding command. He arrived on the campus and was the same guy and just got better.

2. Did you see him as the kind of pitcher who would have such an immediate impact as a freshman, and could you have envisioned him leaving East Carolina with the most wins in school history?
His fast ball was mid-to-upper 80s, and we throw all our pitchers the same amount in the fall.  It was after about his third outing we realized he hadn't given up a run and no one was getting on. He went on to not give up a run the entire fall. It seemed after the fall of his freshman year he had a chance to be very good.

3. Seth wasn't blessed with a 95 mph fastball - what was the secret to his success with the Pirates?
Seth never beat himself. He threw strikes with four pitches, fielded his position like a shortstop and held the running game. If you were going to beat him you had to string hits together, and with his repertoire, that was difficult for teams to do.

4. What did you hear from scouts - what did the like and not like - during his junior and senior years about his future in professional ball? What did you think his chances were of playing in the big leagues?
He was drafted after his junior year by the Marlins as a summer follow. I think what got their attention – he was a winner. He pitched at 88-90 during his junior year. He didn't get a lot of interest. In his senior year, I told several scouts if you want a great senior sign you need to take Seth. I was his biggest fan. A few listened, and most did not. I thought he would do very well in pro ball because of his command and competitiveness. Once he started sinking his fastball, he became a guy that moved quickly.

5. Seth is the first Pirates player to play in the World Series. What does that mean to you and the ECU baseball program?
I am excited for Seth and this is his "time." As a head coach, I am proud of his success. He is one of the greatest competitors I have coached. I would like to think we had a hand in getting him to where he is, but he put up the numbers in the minor leagues to get this opportunity. Development is a major focus in our program. If you look closely at the track record we have during my tenure at East Carolina, we have done a good job of developing guys that were not high prospects into outstanding professionals. Michael Wright  (Triple-A Orioles), Chris Heston (Triple-A Giants), Shawn Armstrong (Double-A Indians), Jharel Cotton (Double-A Dodgers), Kyle Roller (Double-A Yankees), Seth Simmons (High-A Diamondbacks)…just to name a few of the 15 players we have in the minor leagues.


(photo courtesy of ECU Media Relations)