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Clemson Regional Week
Pirates Headed to
ECU climbs back into rankings
What a week it was!
And what a weekend is on the way!
taking down seventh-ranked Houston to win the
Conference USA championship, resilient East Carolina finds itself back
in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll
(22nd) and the Collegiate Baseball
Now, the Pirates — only days removed from wondering if
they would make the final cut for the NCAA field of 64 — are headed
straight into a regional drama fit for the big screen.
East Carolina's bid to host a baseball regional in
Kinston didn't pan out, but for those who appreciate touching ironies,
the Pirates got the next best thing. Three of the four head coaches in
the mini-tournament in which they will be participating nurture close
ties with one another from player-coach relationships of days gone by.
ECU — which hopes its ALS-stricken coach, Keith LeClair,
can find a strategic spot near the playing field for his mobile
dugout/van — is slotted in the Clemson, SC, regional with the host
Tigers, Elon and Georgia Southern.
Top seed Clemson's skipper, Jack Leggett —
protégés are creating ever-larger ripples emulating their mentor
— was Western Carolina's coach when LeClair
starred for the Catamounts. Naturally enough, it was LeClair who
inherited the reigns of the WCU program when Leggett reluctantly moved
down the road a piece to Clemson in 1991.
If that's not enough to inspire a major sense of
poignancy about the regional, the ties deepen to complete a triangle
that seems too perfect to have happened by accident — Georgia Southern
coach and WCU alumnus Rodney Hennon played two years apiece for for both
Leggett and LeClair.
Perhaps the NCAA bureaucrats, who
plot key minutia in
devising each regional, count more than beans and RPI numbers after all.
ECU, the No. 2 seed, faces a familiar foe in Friday's 2
PM opening round game when it tangles with third-seed Elon. The Pirates
and Phoenix split two regular season contests, each winning on their
The Tigers will battle the Georgia Southern Eagles in
the night game at 7 PM.
Saturday's action features a clash between the winners
and an elimination match between the losers during the daylight hours.
In the evening, the loser from the winners bracket game and the victor
from the losers bracket pairing will square off to determine which
advances to the final day.
On Sunday, the lone unbeaten team from the previous
day's face-off between winners will collide with Friday night's
conqueror to determine the regional title, with a second game on the
slate if necessary to decide the double-elimination event.
02/23/2007 11:21 AM