College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Friday, June 4, 2004
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Stage set for drama in Kinston
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
“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
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.
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