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ECU News, Notes and Commentary

The Bradsher Beat
Thursday, May 26, 2005

By Bethany Bradsher

A day in the life


What happens when you take East Carolina’s most exciting and consequential baseball game this season and play it on a Wednesday morning hundreds of miles away?

You get an unforgettable moment in Pirate athletics that many fans had to miss because of those ordinary Wednesday restrictions like school and work.

Throughout Greenville and to the south in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the hours before and during the ECU-Houston game were marked by a mix of the extraordinary and the mundane.

6 a.m, Central Standard Time:

Starting pitcher T.J. Hose and his teammates are jarred by the wake-up call in their Hattiesburg hotel. Since the opening pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. by their clocks, they have to rise at an hour that few college students ever see. But on Tuesday evening, Hose was excited about the opportunity to help propel his team into the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s very important, these couple of games,” said Hose, a freshman who was put into the starting rotation early in the season because of a rash of injuries to more experienced ECU pitchers. “We need to come rested and fired up, and everything will fall into place.”

(The following times are all EST)

9:45 a.m.: At One Source Communications in downtown Greenville, Jeff Clark and a few other employees make sure their radios are tuned to 1250 AM and settle in for the broadcast. Clark and some of his co-workers brought radios from home for the morning, he said, and he fervently hoped that the billing department where he works would get very few inquiries during game time.

10:12 a.m.: Hose throws his first strike out, to Cougar freshman Bryan Tully.

10:14 a.m.: Houston infielder Brad Lincoln hits a sacrifice fly to score Travis Tully and give his team a 1-0 lead.

10:35 a.m.: The Pirates dominate the bottom of the first inning, tallying five hits and one walk to go ahead 4-1.

10:50 a.m.: Houston starting pitcher Kevin Roberts comes out and is replaced out of the bullpen by Ricky Hargrove.

11 a.m.: Professor O’Cool’s opens its doors for the lunch crowd. But even though it’s one of Greenville’s most popular sports bars, the restaurant won’t attract any groups of Pirate baseball fans. The game isn’t being broadcast on television, and co-owner Linus Martinez says that 1250 AM doesn’t come in clearly inside O’Cool’s.

11:20 a.m.: Kenny Jenkins, the director of congregational care at Covenant United Methodist Church in Greenville, can’t devote his attention to the entire game, but he is doing his best to stay connected with his Pirates.

“I am listening off and on,” Jenkins said. “I listened to the first inning, and I’ve checked in a few times.”

11:40 a.m.: The Cougars have their biggest inning — the fifth — with four hits and three runs, giving them a 5-4 lead and threatening an early end to ECU’s season.

12:05 p.m.: Pirate fans throughout the East exhale when Billy Richardson hits a single that brings Mike Grace across the plate and ties the game 5-5.

12:22 p.m.: An advertisement for Innovative Mortgage Solutions airs on 1250 AM between innings, but Chad Aldridge says they don’t have the game on at the Innovative Mortgage office. Aldridge and Gary Alford follow ECU avidly, Aldridge said, but they had to settle for checking the score on the Internet occasionally on Wednesday.

“We’re big Pirates fans, but we haven’t had it on today,” he said.

12:57 p.m.: Brian Cavanaugh pulls off the ultimate baseball moment when he comes to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with one out and nails the one and only home run of the ballgame to give his Pirates a 6-5 victory and the chance to fight another day.

1:00 p.m.: Ray Craft of Signs Now, who was listening on the Internet, posts a simple message outside his Greenville Boulevard store: “Pirates Win.”

3:30 p.m.: Tulane defeats the University of Alabama-Birmingham 8-6 to advance to a second-round meeting with ECU. The two teams will face off at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, presenting another round of workday challenges for the Pirate Nation.

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02/23/2007 01:11:22 AM

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