Senior Jay Cannon will wear East Carolina’s honorary No. 23 jersey for the 2013 season according to an announcement by head coach Billy Godwin during the program’s annual “Meet the Pirates” fan session, which was held inside the Murphy Center Saturday afternoon.
The No. 23 jersey, which was the number worn by the late ECU Head Coach Keith LeClair throughout his coaching and playing career, became an honorary number for the Pirate program in 2003.
”It’s a privilege to extend this great honor to Jay,” Godwin said. “He is a tremendous young man that has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates. They way he goes about leading our program in the weight room, classroom, in the community and on the field is a true testament to his character.”
Cannon played in 45 games making 40 starts during his first year with the Pirates after transferring from Brunswick Community College.
His impact was felt immediately during the opening weekend series against Milwaukee where he recorded at least on hit in all three games.
In game one of the February 18th doubleheader against the Panthers, the Fuquay-Varina native was 2-for-3 with a season high three RBI and three runs scored. He belted the first of his two home runs on the season in the fifth inning, a solo shot to left field.
His second round tripper of the year came in dramatic fashion with a walk-off blast in the bottom of the tenth to right field completing a 6-5 come from behind victory over Penn State (Mar. 16).
Cannon also drove in the game-winning run against instate rival UNC Wilmington (Apr. 3) in a 5-0 win on a two-RBI single in the third inning.
A year ago, he batted .308 (44-for-123) with seven doubles, 23 RBI and 27 runs scored.
Defensively he posted a .975 fielding percentage committing just two errors in 81 chances with 79 putouts.
In all, he tallied nine multi-hit and six multi-RBI games and posted a career-best eight-game hitting streak from Mar. 3-18 where he batted .384 (10-for-26).
“Words can not describe the feeling right now,” Cannon said at the annual Meet the Pirates event. “When I first stepped on campus during my visit in 2011, I knew this was the place I needed to be. To be standing up here and accepting this jersey is just an unbelievable feeling.”
The number is awarded annually to a deserving player who best displays the hustle, determination and desire that made LeClair a great coach and player.
Cannon becomes the eighth senior and 10th Pirate to wear the honorary No. 23 jersey following Ben Sanderson (2003), Jamie Paige (2004), Brian Cavanaugh (2005), Adam Witter (2006), Chris Powell (2007), Drew Schieber (2008), Brandon Henderson (2009), two-time winner Austin Homan (2010-11) and Timothy Younger (2012).
LeClair's courageous battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, has garnered support and admiration throughout the ECU and collegiate baseball community.
The Pirates will open the 2013 season on Feb. 15 when they play host to nationally-ranked Virginia at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
First pitch is schedule for 3 p.m. (EST).