College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Monday, June 7, 2004
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Weatherman out-jukes Mother
In a less technologically-developed age, there probably would have been no
weather delay for the NCAA Tournament winners bracket game between UNC
Wilmington and East Carolina on Sunday. It was sunny at the game site at 3
p.m., when the Pirates and Seahawks were scheduled to commence.
Without weather-tracking information, the game would have started and,
likely sometime in the second inning, the clouds would have moved in and the
bottom would have fallen out at Grainger Stadium in Kinston.
The regional had, of course, already undergone the postponement of two games
on Friday because of showers throughout the day. Someone said the Pirates
might finish up in the regional this coming Friday and fly immediately to
Columbia, SC, for the Super Regional against South Carolina. Who knows? At
3:30 p.m. on Sunday there were a lot of purple-clad people looking out from
under the grandstand roof as sheets of rain descended on the tarp-covered
The value of radar that showed the approach of the system was that it
allowed some advance notice of the approaching rain. Game management
personnel advised fans with seats in the bleachers to head to their vehicles
or the covered portion of the stadium’s seating area. The teams filed from
their dugouts to the clubhouse.
Apart from the safety aspect, there also are considerations related to the
game. From the baseball perspective, technology saved the starting pitchers
from short and probably wasted starts. Coaches don’t like it when their
mound personnel have to sit through long half innings, much less a lengthy
rain delay. Had the game started, Ronald Hill of the Seahawks and Brody
Taylor of the Pirates might be scratched for the rest of the regional.
One of the most contentious episodes in the two-year coaching tenure of
Randy Mazey at ECU stemmed from a rain delay that was deemed too lengthy for
senior starting pitcher Davey Penny to continue for the Pirates last season.
Penny got upset when he couldn’t keep pitching and left the dugout. He went
to the team locker room and the incident ultimately resulted in his
dismissal from the program.
All of which is enough to make one appreciate the value of radar.
The weather and an 11-4 win over UNC Wilmington after a two hour, 28-minute
delay will serve in ECU’s favor. The Seahawks had to turn around and
struggle mightily past favored Tennessee 4-3 later Sunday night to survive
to meet the Pirates again at noon today. Starting time today was moved up
one hour because of the possibility of afternoon storms — giving the
Seahawks one less hour to rest and prepare.
Pirates coach Randy Mazey obviously likes ECU’s position with ace Greg Bunn
(9-0, 2.88 ERA) rested and ready to go for the regional championship today.
“It was a huge game,” Mazey said after the win over Wilmington. “That is the
biggest game I have ever coached in. I don’t know if the team knows it, but
that is the biggest game that they have ever played in. The way it worked
out with the rain today, we really didn’t want to be out there playing
tonight and turn around and play a noon game tomorrow (Monday). That is
going to be tough on whoever wins Game 5.
“This win puts us in good position, but we aren’t going to feel too good
about it right now because the tournament isn’t over by any stretch of the
imagination. We are going to go and get a good night’s rest and come out and
be ready for a huge battle tomorrow regardless of who wins this game
A 6-run seventh inning against UNCW pushed ECU’s lead to 11-2.
“Our team hasn’t panicked when we got behind all season,” said Seahawks
coach Mark Scalf. “We felt like we were still in the ballgame when it (was)
5-2 in the sixth. What really hurt us was the seventh.”
Taylor went 6 2/3 innings and scattered 10 hits in improving to 8-0. Scott
Andrews and Ricky Brooks came out of the bullpen to preserve the Pirates
Ryan Jones had a 2-run homer for a 4-1 ECU lead in the fifth. Mark Minicozzi
hit his 10th of the season and the 99th by the Pirates for a 5-2 lead in the
Mazey liked seeing Jones’ 19th round-tripper clear the right field fence in
the fifth inning.
“It was nice to see some power out of Jonesy,” Mazey said. “He has hit a lot
of home runs this year but not too many lately. To see that ball come off
his bat with that trajectory and that much juice was good to see.”
If there was a downside to ECU’s second win over the Seahawks in three games
this season, it was Darryl Lawhorn on crutches and Mike Grace, who took his
spot in the lineup as designated hitter, coming up lame himself after an RBI
single in the seventh. Mazey said those players’ medical conditions will be
“I’m still going to bed feeling every hitter in our lineup is pretty hot
right now,” Mazey said.
ECU out-hit the Seahawks 15-12 and chased Hill (12-4) after five innings.
Hill said the crowd of 3,210 — mostly supporting the Pirates — was a factor.
“It affects you a little bit,” Hill said. “The fans keep you from focusing
as much as you would if you were in your home stadium, but I kind of fed off
of it a little bit.”
UNCW coach Mark Scalf said the Pirates took advantage of their
“We knew what we were up against coming into the whole weekend,” Scalf said.
“ ... We knew we were going to have to pitch very, very well. They didn’t
miss many mistakes today. We made some mistakes out over the plate and they
didn’t miss them.”
Scalf's club, after a short night's rest, will now get another shot at ECU,
which has not lost a game in the double-elimination affair.
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02/23/2007 12:45:51 AM