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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Friday, June 4, 2004

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Stage set for drama in Kinston

©2004 Bonesville.net

The East Carolina baseball team had little reaction when the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced on Monday. It was nothing like last year’s celebration when the Pirates were a bubble team.

This year, the Pirates knew they were in. The suspense involved finding out who else would be sent to the regional the Pirates are hosting at Grainger Stadium in Kinston.

There was a murmur or two from the Pirate players seated in rows in front of the big screen television in the Pat Draughon room of the Ward Sports Medicine Building when N.C. State and North Carolina were sent to other regionals before the Kinston bracket was announced.

Then came ECU’s bracket. The Pirates, the top seed, matched against Stony Brook, the No. 4 seed, in the first round. Tennessee, the villain in Kinston in 2001, the No. 2 seed, matched against UNC Wilmington, the No. 3 seed, which snapped ECU’s school record winning streak and spoiled the final chapter at old Harrington Field.

Pirates coach Randy Mazey stood near the back and appreciated the potential drama the NCAA baseball committee had put together.

“This is a tough region,” Mazey said. “We’ve got good teams up and down this regional. You can’t look ahead to one particular team. You’ve got to beat Stony Brook first and see what happens in the other game. Then we’ll start figuring out who we’ve got to beat second.

“ ... Our guys have put us in great position and now we’re five wins away from going to Omaha. It’s down to a six or seven game season, so we’re going to start over right now and start another winning streak.”

The Pirates were in position late in the season to possibly nail down a top eight national seeding but losses in four of the last seven games jettisoned those hopes.

“At this point a national seed really doesn’t matter to us,” Mazey said. “We’ve got to take care of the regional first. Whatever happens after that, then we’ll worry about that. On one hand if you do get a national seed, then you’re guilty of looking too far ahead and not concentrating on what you have in front of you.”

Mathews to start

Coach Mazey indicated that he plans to start freshman right-hander Shane Mathews (6-1, 3.89 ERA) in the opening game on tonight, weather permitting. The revised forecast was calling for a strong chance of showers today. Storms postponed the first game in the Super Regional in 2001 when Mazey came to town with Tennessee.

“Shane’s been steady all year long,” Mazey said. “He beat a lot of good teams. He had a tough outing early in the year against Tulane and didn’t pitch well but he matured a lot from that one game.”

Mathews features a fastball that tops out around 90 mph. His repertoire also includes a curve and changeup. Mathews was accorded freshman All-Conference USA honors.

Mazey hasn’t decided when All C-USA pitcher of the year Greg Bunn (9-0, 2.88) will go in Kinston. The Pirates coach will likely make that decision based on who wins the UNC Wilmington-Tennessee game.

Herenda waiting

ECU basketball assistant Greg Herenda has interviewed for an assistant coaching position at Virginia that one source has indicated could possibly double his salary. Herenda wasn’t commenting on whether the Cavaliers position had been offered as of Thursday, but ECU coach Bill Herrion is thought to be seeking a pay hike for Herenda in his present position which would keep him in place as Herrion’s right hand man.

Late-breaking All-America honors

East Carolina's sports information department has announced that designated hitter Ryan Jones has been named to the Louisville Slugger All-America first team. The squad is picked by the staff of Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and players are selected based on performances up to the regional playoffs. ECU first baseman Ryan Norwood, second baseman Trevor Lawhorn and right-hander Greg Bunn all earned third-team Louisville Slugger All-America honors.

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02/23/2007 12:45:50 AM
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