TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
fires up Pirates
recorded by Brian Bailey.
ECU baseball coach Billy Godwin
and players Kevin Brandt, Jack Reinheimer,
Corey Thompson and Zach Wright discuss the
Pirates' selection as No. 2 seed in the
Chapel Hill regional:.
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They were listed as a “bubble team” at the very start of the NCAA
Baseball Selection Show. Finally, though, the East Carolina Pirates saw
their name on the screen. ECU will head to the 2012 NCAA tournament as
the number two seed in the Chapel Hill regional.
“We were extremely nervous,” said senior pitcher Kevin Brandt when asked
about watching the pairings come down. “It took 30 minutes but it seemed
like a lifetime. We are extremely motivated. From going from not knowing
to getting that bid, it is a real boost.” [Select
Kevin Brandt audio clip in a new window...]
The Pirates can thank a solid RPI for such a high seeding. There were
some thoughts that ECU had played its way out of a two seed down the
stretch. There were even those, like the producers of the selection
show, who had East Carolina on the bubble.
“We certainly didn’t play the way we are capable of down the stretch and
that’s a concern,” said Coach Billy Godwin. “But I think we’re all
excited to get this chance. I’m really excited for our players." [Select
Billy Godwin audio clip in a new window...]
East Carolina will join St. John’s, Cornell and North Carolina in the
four-team grouping at Boshamer Stadium. ECU split games with St. John’s
last season up in Charlottesville,
falling in the regional opener 2-0,
but bouncing back and
beating the Red Storm 6-4 to advance to the
finals against top seed Virginia.
Oddly enough, the same problem that has plagued East Carolina this
season was the story in that opener in Charlottesville a year ago. The
Pirates outhit the Red Storm, but couldn’t get that hit when they needed
it and were shut out in the opening game.
Carolina is the overwhelming favorite in this regional. The Tar Heels
have won 15 consecutive regional games at home and are a national seed
for the sixth time in the last seven years.
The Heels had their 14-game winning streak snapped by Miami in the ACC
Tournament. Still, North Carolina has won 15 of its last 16 games. The
Heels are gunning for the school’s 10th appearance at the College World
The East Carolina players say they look forward to a potential matchup
with North Carolina in the regional. The Tar Heels
beat East Carolina 1-0 in 10 innings
earlier this season in Chapel Hill. The return visit in Greenville was a
“I guess the baseball gods wanted this to happen because we got rained
out in Greenville,” said ECU senior catcher Zach Wright. “I know a lot
of those guys from summer league play and we hope to see them again. We
all know each other so the winner does get to talk a little junk to
Zach Wright audio clip in a new window...]
Though North Carolina has the home field edge, Pirate fans have a track
record of turning out in numbers for posteason games between the
schools. Such was the case in both of the regionals and the one
super-regional involving ECU and the Heels.
“It’s an easy trip,” said Godwin. “We’ll take two days and prepare and
we’ll get ready to play in a great field. It’s great for our fans for us
to be close by. We have such a tremendous fan base with such passion for
Godwin shakes off the notion that things haven’t gone so well in Chapel
Hill over the years. The Pirates have not won in Chapel Hill since a 7-5
victory on April 27, 1994. This year’s loss was the 14th consecutive
loss for ECU in road games against the Tar Heels.
Godwin says those numbers certainly won’t bother his ball club.
“I don’t think they care,” said Godwin. “It sounds like to me that the
odds are in our favor.”
East Carolina and St. John’s open the regional on Friday afternoon at 1
p.m. North Carolina and Cornell take the field at 6 p.m.
The Friday losers play at 1 p.m. on Saturday followed by the Friday
winners facing off at 6 p.m.
The Pirates admit they have yet to play their best baseball. There’s no
time like the present to turn it on and make some noise in Chapel Hill.
The 2012 NCAA Chapel Hill regional schedule:
Friday, June 1
Game 1: (3) St. John’s vs. (2) East Carolina, 1 p.m.
Game 2: (4) Cornell vs. (1) North Carolina, 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 2
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 3
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 4
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 6 p.m. - IF
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