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  • The Daily Reflector

    ECU roundup: Pirates' Byrd records first hit in summer league

    By Patrick Mason Staff Writer,

    2024-06-14

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=17Hr2A_0trWIvyC00

    Parker Byrd made a memorable debut for the New Bern Southpaws on Thursday.

    Byrd, the East Carolina baseball player who made history earlier in the college season by becoming the first Division I athlete to play baseball with a prosthetic leg, continued chasing his baseball dreams by making his first start for the summer league team.

    New Bern plays in the Northeastern Division of the Old North State League, and on Thursday the Southpaws were hosting the Edenton Steamers. Byrd made his debut as the Southpaws’ designated hitter.

    In the fourth inning — his second at-bat of the game — Byrd poked an RBI single through the right side to give New Bern a 3-1 lead. He advanced to second on the throw home, showing off an ability to run the bases, too, despite wearing a prosthetic on his right leg.

    It was his first summer league hit and it helped send the Southpaws to a 6-3 victory.

    He finished the game 1-for-4 with an RBI.

    Byrd made three plate appearances during the season for ECU. He made history on opening day when he got an at-bat in the eighth inning of the Pirates’ 16-2 win over Rider. In that opening at-bat, Byrd saw a strike, then took four consecutive balls to draw a walk and reach base to loud applause.

    Byrd made two more pinch-hit appearances for the Pirates, striking out against Columbia on March 15 and grounding out up the middle against Elon on April 9.

    The rising junior was involved in a boating accident in July of 2022 that resulted in serious injuries to both of his legs. He had to have part of his right leg amputated and he missed his freshman season of baseball while recovering from 22 surgeries.

    He worked diligently in his rehab and was able to make his goal of playing in college real this past season.

    Byrd has been making appearances at events as a motivational speaker and has been an inspirational figure in his community since the injury.

    New Bern is next at home on Tuesday against Tarboro.

    ECU volleyball

    The East Carolina volleyball team released its schedule recently. Some highlights include the Pirates playing 11 home matches, a road match against Final Four participant Pitt and changes to the American Athletic Conference postseason.

    The Pirates posted their first 20-win season since 2017 and the fifth in program history last year, finishing with a 21-11 overall record and taking a sixth-place finish in the AAC at 11-8.

    For the first time since the spring of 2021, the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament will be determined via the conference tournament. The top eight teams in the standings will qualify for the event, held Nov. 22-24 at Wichita State.

    ECU will play 16 AAC matches this season, beginning with Florida Atlantic on Sept. 27.

    The 2024 season unofficially begins on Aug. 30 in Wilmington against Queens University, Loyola (Md.) and UNC Wilmington.

    The Pirates return five starters from last season’s 20-win squad, including All-AAC First Team selection and outside hitter Angeles Alderete. Head coach Adler Augustin enters his fifth season in charge of the program.

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