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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Friday, May 21, 2004

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Amazin' Mazey bunch dethrones USM


The East Carolina baseball team took care of business against the defending Conference USA champions Thursday night, winning 9-0 at No. 12 Southern Miss to clinch the league's regular season title.

Pirate junior Greg Bunn pitched eight innings and improved to 8-0 as he allowed five hits, struck out six and walked three. Freshman Ricky Brooks pitched the ninth.

Junior first baseman Ryan Norwood went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. His RBI single with two out in the third drove in ECU's first run and the Pirates added two more that inning to lead 3-0.

Jamie Paige, Ryan Jones, Drew Costanzo, Mark Minicozzi and Billy Richardson had two hits each as the Pirates totaled 16 off of four Golden Eagles pitchers. Southern Miss could have earned a tie for the regular season title by sweeping ECU but USM was shut out for the first time this season at Pete Taylor Field as 2,864 were on hand.

The Pirates, ranked No. 4 nationally by Collegiate Baseball, improved to 46-8 overall and 24-4 in the league. ECU's 24 C-USA wins is a league record. One more win would tie ECU's school record for victories in a season (47) set in 1990 and matched in 2001.

With games tonight and Saturday, the Pirates are in position to enhance their seeding for the NCAA Tournament without the pressure of nailing down the C-USA season title. Then it's on to Houston for the C-USA Tournament.

Southern Miss coach Corky Palmer won the first annual Keith LeClair Award as C-USA coach of the year in 2003. Is there any doubt that this year's recipient will be LeClair's friend and former assistant Randy Mazey? The Pirates coach has done a superb job with a team picked to finish fifth in the league race.

Mazey said at the outset of the season that an inexperienced ECU pitching staff would have to grow up quickly and they have. Offense has been plentiful as a .324 team batting average and school record 91 home runs attest.

Hart still in the picture

Rick Hart returned a call on Wednesday regarding his status for the athletic director's position at ECU.

"I have not withdrawn," Hart said.

Bayes weighs in

Andrew Bayes, an All American punter at ECU in 1999, sent an e-mail and voiced his thoughts about ECU's AD search.

"We can't sit back and take applications," said Bayes, who works in his brother Chris' residential lending business and is based in Tampa, Fla. "It needs to be a proactive process to go get somebody. That's the way they do it in big-time programs. We've done a good job with coaches, especially baseball. Those coaches need leadership at the top to take the total program where it needs to go.

"We've been recognized nationally, but we've really only scratched the surface."

Bayes' wife Allison works as a nurse at St. Joseph's women's hospital in Tampa.

The former Pirate who led the nation in punting average as a senior spent some time with his former coach Steve Logan when NFL Europe was holding training camp in Tampa. Logan is quarterbacks coach for the Berlin Thunder, which features former Pirate quarterback and receiver Richard Alston in a prominent role. The Thunder has qualified for the World Bowl on June 12 (Fox).

"I think he's really enjoying what he's doing," Bayes said of Logan. "It allows him to coach in the spring and he can do his broadcasting in the fall. If he keeps doing it, he said he might buy a place in Tampa."

Bayes' was watching Tampa Bay's hockey game with Philadelphia on television on Thursday night when he was reached on the phone. His brother Chris, based in Delaware, was at the game. Bayes and his brother had fourth row end zone seats at the Super Bowl and were caught in a crowd shot of the game-winning field goal in Sports Illustrated.

"I've got the picture signed by Adam Vinatieri (New England kicker) and it's hanging in my office," Bayes said.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 12:45:42 AM

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