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Athletic Director John Gilbert (right) and interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach (right-center) coordinated a makeshift commencement for 9 baseball seniors who were playing during the main commencement ceremony.

Several East Carolina baseball seniors walked to accept their diplomas from interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach. However, instead of walking across the stage with their fellow classmates, they were walking across the baseball field last Friday.

The ECU baseball team (42-13, 20-4 AAC) was playing in a three game away series against the University of Cincinnati (26-29, 13-11 AAC), unfortunately the same day that ECU graduation was taking place.

ECU’s commencement ceremony for students began on Friday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. and much to the dismay of the seniors on the baseball team, was in the middle of their double header that day. The two game sequence began at 2:30 p.m. with the start of the first game, and then the second game began at 6:15 p.m..

According to executive associate athletics director Ryan Robinson, Athletic Director John Gilbert and Gerlach wanted to do something about this.

Not wanting to feel left out, the Gerlach sprung into action, and immediately contacted Gilbert’s office. From there, they began to coordinate their busy schedules to something nice for the student athletes that have dedicated so much of their time throughout the season.

Both Gerlach and Gilbert officiated the makeshift ceremony, with nine seniors walking across Lewis field at Clark-Leclair Stadium to collect their diplomas. They had every intention to do something admirable, that both the parents and students would appreciate.

“Thank you Cliff Godwin and ECU Athletics for letting me be apart of ECU baseball’s senior night on Friday.” Gerlach tweeted. “This team’s work ethic and toughness is unmatched and I want Pirate Nation to cheer them on as they head to the American Baseball championships this week.”

ECU and their nine seniors won the AAC regular season title, and went on to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AAC Tournament. The Pirates will face off against No. 5 seeded University of Houston (32-33, 12-12 AAC) in their second game of the tournament, today at 3 p.m.

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