East Carolina's baseball, basketball and
football teams are in the midst of a period characterized by
The Pirate baseball
team ventured into Virginia for a pair of midweek triumphs and will take
the momentum of a four-game winning streak into the fifth annual Keith
LeClair Classic. ECU (5-4) plays Pittsburgh at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Mack McCarthy's basketball team has
seemingly resurrected itself after a 91-62 loss at Texas-El Paso on Feb.
75-68 victory at Rice on Wednesday night
gave the Pirates a three-game winning streak. It was ECU's first
Conference USA road win since Feb. 16, 2005, when the Pirates topped UAB,
ECU athletic director Terry Holland
recently canvassed a gathering of influential Pirate Club members in
regards to their thoughts about the job performance of the interim ECU
coach and McCarthy received a favorable endorsement from the group.
Spring football practice is a time
devoted to improvement and the Pirates certainly will need to be at
their best to equal the challenge of the
recently-announced 2008 football schedule.
ECU had its first spring session in
pads on Wednesday.
Breaking in young hurlers
East Carolina baseball coach Billy
Godwin has given a lot of new pitchers opportunities early in the
season. Freshman right-hander Brad Mincey from New Hanover responded
well on Wednesday as he pitched 7 1/3 innings in relief and earned the
decision as ECU
topped host Virginia Commonwealth
7-4 at The Diamond in Richmond.
Mincey retired 12 straight Rams at one
point. He allowed just two hits, had four strikeouts and walked just
one. The Pirates trailed 4-1 before rallying in the fifth inning to go
Trent Whitehead, a freshman from
Washington, NC, had his first hit on the college level to start the
Harrison Eldridge had a run-scoring
triple for ECU in a two-run sixth. That was enough run support for
Mincey as the Rams were scoreless after getting four runs in the first
off Pirates starter Matt Cox, a transfer from North Carolina. Freshman
Zach Cooper from Jacksonville White Oak held VCU for an inning before
Godwin brought Mincey to the mound.
The LeClair Classic, which honors the
former Pirate coach who died from Lou Gehrig's disease, will be the
beginning of 13 consecutive home games for ECU. The Pirates are
scheduled to face Michigan at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Georgia Southern at
2 p.m. on Sunday.
Included in the upcoming homestand will
be ECU's opening series in Conference USA against Houston on March
Pitt (3-3) features sophomore
outfielder Jordan Herr, who is hitting a team high .438. He is the son
of former major league All-Star Tommy Herr.
Senior outfielder Sean Conley of the
Panthers was named Big East player of the week after going 6-for-12 in a
series with Maryland-Eastern Shore. Senior left-hander Brian Chrisman, a
transfer from Marshall, is 2-0 for Pitt with a 2.31 earned run average
and 16 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.
Michigan (4-3) is ranked No. 15 by
Baseball America. The Wolverines outhit the New York Mets 11-7 in an
exhibition game on Feb. 26 and played the National League club to a 4-4
Georgia Southern head coach Rodney
Hennon and assistant coaches Mike Tidick and Jason Beverlin all played
for LeClair when he was the coach at Western Carolina. The Eagles are
4-5 coming into Greenville.
Tough grid slate on horizon
Fan support should be substantial when
ECU opens its season in Charlotte on Aug. 30 against Virginia Tech. The
Pirates will play West Virginia the following week in Greenville.
The non-conference schedule, which also
includes games at N.C. State on Sept. 20 and at Virginia on Oct. 11,
gives ECU the opportunity to gain national attention. The games with the
Hokies and Mountaineers will be shown on one of the ESPN networks.
"Needless to say, we're all excited to
play our out-of-conference schedule," said Pirates football coach Skip
Holtz in a university release. "I know all of us embrace the challenge
of moving this program forward and (athletic director) Terry Holland has
continued to provide us with that opportunity."
Holtz, whose 2007 club went 8-5 with a
win in the Hawaii Bowl over Boise State, said he was impressed with the
work ethic and enthusiasm thus far in spring ball.
A number of seniors from the 2007 team
worked out for pro scouts on Wednesday. Star running back Chris Johnson
did not participate but is expected to make himself available for
evaluations in Greenville later this month, according to ECU sports