LUMBERTON — Evan Odum, a 2016 graduate of Lumberton High School, announced via Twitter on Monday that he would continue his baseball career at East Carolina University next spring.
Odum played last season for UNC and made one appearance on the hill, allowing three hits and three runs on Feb. 26 against Radford. He left UNC at the end of last school year and is now playing for Florence Darlington Technical College, where he will be for the rest of this school year before enrolling at ECU in the summer.
“I enjoyed my time at Carolina, I enjoyed my teammates and the journey we took this year,” Odum said. “For me personally, I knew I needed to get out for more opportunities. I knew we had a lot of guys coming back, losing just one pitcher, and I knew it would be tough for me to get chances.”
At Lumberton, Odum was a three-time all-county performer and struck out 257 batters and had a 1.48 ERA in three seasons. He is currently wrapping up fall workouts with the Stingers, and said the coaching staff at FDTC has been instrumental in helping him get in contact with the ECU staff.
“I talked with my family and was looking for a place that would give me chances to make an immediate impact, and I thought that (ECU) was a good fit,” Odum said. “(ECU pitching) Coach (Dan) Roszel has been calling me or texting me everyday through this process, and when I went on my visit the other day the guys crowded around me and made me feel welcome and made it feel like a perfect fit.”
ECU originally recruited Odum out of high school, but the right-handed pitcher verbally committed to UNC as a sophomore and signed a letter of intent his senior year at Lumberton.
“Being from a big UNC family it was a dream come true to hear from them and have interest shown, but Coach Roszel thankfully opened back up the connection,” he said.
Odum will have to finish up his associates degree at the two-year school before he can transfer to ECU officially. While the experience at the school less than an hour drive down Interstate 95 from home is just a stepping stone to getting back to his goal, Odum has refocused himself.
“I can’t say anything other than I am thankful and blessed and have a new perspective as I work toward a new opportunity,” Odum said.
The Pirates are coming off a 32-28 season last year. The players that were welcoming to Odum on his visit were familiar faces from his past whether it was guys he played travel or high school baseball with or local guys he’s competed against, like West Columbus’ Trey Benton, Pinecrest’s Seth Caddell and Cape Fear’s Gavin Williams.
“It was a good group of players that I had either played with or against that showed up to talk to me,” he said. “When I first went out to the bullpen, I saw all my buddies that I knew or met before and we started talking like we never missed a beat.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.