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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Friday, April 23, 2004

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Mazey wary of lapses along road to big prize

©2004 Bonesville.net

With East Carolina’s baseball team reaching levels of success that are almost unprecedented for the school, many Pirate fans have been wondering if this is the year the program will finally reach its longtime goal of making the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Fans were still making their way to the parking lot from Doak Field on Wednesday night after ECU’s 6-3 non-conference win over N.C. State as Pirates coach Randy Mazey was putting the outcome in perspective and seeking to prevent the pitfalls the euphoria from such a conquest might generate.

“We’re clicking on all cylinders right now,” Mazey said. “We need to keep up the offense the way we are. We’re getting some pretty good pitching right now. We need to keep up the fan support. At this point in the season, you don’t want to slack off on any part of your game.”

Mazey said ECU is good enough to make the long-awaited trip.

“I really believe our team is capable of playing in Omaha,” he said. “One of the only reasons you can’t make it is if you have letdowns along the way.”

That’s one reason Mazey is guarded with Louisville coming to Harrington Field for a 3-game Conference USA series starting tonight. The Cardinals are 8-7 in Conference USA while ECU, ranked No. 9 by Baseball America, is 12-3 in the league and tied with Southern Miss for first. Louisville is 20-17 overall, including 3-3 on the road in the league and 4-4 on the road overall.

“If you look in the dictionary under letdown, Friday is going to be a perfect day for it,” Mazey said. “We had a hard fought game (Wednesday night), very emotional, big crowd, and a lot of inspiration on the field. Now you’ve got Louisville coming in on Friday that doesn’t have as good a record and they’re down in the conference.

“It’s an opportunity for a letdown but we’ve talked to these guys about to get to Omaha you’ve got to avoid letdowns. They’ve done a good job of that to this point during the season.”

Mazey expected a good practice on Thursday in preparation for maintaining the high standard the Pirates have set during their current 13-game winning streak.

“This game will be ancient history tomorrow, and I think they’ll find a way to play hard on Friday,” said the Pirates coach.

Sub Seahawks for Blue Devils

Interim athletics director Nick Floyd confirmed that Duke’s scheduled visit to play East Carolina on May 5 at Grainger Stadium in Kinston has been deleted.

“Both parties have mutually agreed that game will not be played,” Floyd said. “We were going to play if we had a lot of rainouts but we’re both near our limit in terms of games.”

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ECU beat Duke 7-5 in Durham on April 7.

Floyd said the games with UNC-Wilmington that were wiped out due to wet conditions have been rescheduled. ECU will meet the Seahawks at 7 p.m. on May 4, which would be the last game at the present Harrington Field structure before new stadium construction begins. ECU will visit UNCW at 7 p.m. on May 11.

The Pirates will play their final home games of the regular season in Kinston so that work on the new stadium can get underway. That includes N.C. State at Grainger Stadium at 7 p.m. on May 12 and a 3-game set with TCU, coming up May 14-16.

Floyd confirmed that ECU is submitting bids to host an NCAA Tournament regional at Grainger Stadium in Kinston on June 4-6 and a potential super regional at Fleming Stadium in Wilson on June 11-13. Grainger Stadium is not available for the super regional weekend because of the Kinston Indians’ Carolina League schedule.

“Wins like last night (at N.C. State) help those bids,” Floyd said Thursday.

Tracy gets the call

Chad Tracy, whose hard-hitting helped ECU to the super regional in Kinston against Tennessee in 2001, made his first major league start a memorable one in Milwaukee on Thursday. Tracy was called up from Triple-A Tucson by the Arizona Diamondbacks when Roberto Alomar went on the 15-day disabled list.

Tracy had been hitting .400 in Tucson through 12 games. He’s hitting .444 after two games in the big leagues. After striking out swinging in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter in the D-Backs’ 10-6 loss in his major league debut on Wednesday, Tracy went 4-for-8 on Thursday as Arizona topped the Brewers 11-9 in 15 innings.

Tracy had his first big league RBI for an insurance run in the 15th after the D-Backs had taken a 10-9 lead.

“Four hits feels good even if you’re in high school,” Tracy was quoted as saying by Sports Ticker. “Regardless of what I did, the game will always be in my mind. It was a good one and we came out winners. I’m just glad we won.”

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02/23/2007 12:45:30 AM
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