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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 26, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Pirates jockey for postseason stakes


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Billy Godwin

(ECU SID image)



Pirates jockey for postseason stakes
College Baseball Polls
Box Score: East Carolina 12, Houston 2 (7 innings)
Box Score: Houston 4, East Carolina 2
BVL: High drama ends in East Carolina win
Ruff sides with players on NFL impasse
Recap & Box Score: East Carolina 5, Houston 4 (12)
Box Score: East Carolina 17, UNC-Wilmington 13
Good and not-so-good on display in spring game
College Baseball Polls
Box Score: East Carolina 5, Central Florida 3
Box Score: Central Florida 3, East Carolina 2
Box Score: East Carolina 12, Central Florida 6
Pirates on display Saturday with spring game


Pitching ace Seth
Maness is day to day
with a bit of stiffness.

(ECU SID image)

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina’s improbable comeback last Thursday night at Cougar Field was the difference as the Pirates picked up a key Conference USA series win over Houston.

The Pirates trailed the Cougars 4-1 with two out and nobody on in the top of the 9th in the opener of the series. The Pirates then strung together four hits, and went on to pull one out of the fire in beating the Cougars 5-4 in 12 innings (View Box Score).

“We got the leadoff guy on and then we hit into the double play,” said Coach Billy Godwin. “Maybe I’m just optimistic but I believe we are going to win. We tell our guys to just get the next guy to the plate, especially when you are down by multiple runs. We don’t ask them to do too much, just to get it to the on deck guy. We were able to string four quality at bats together right there.”

Former J.H. Rose star Chase McDonald got the party started with a solo home run. Philip Clark followed with a single and then pinch hitter Jonathan Holt came through with a hit to extend the inning.

Ben Fultz then crushed a two-run triple off the wall that tied the game. Fultz came very close to hitting the ball out and giving the Pirates the lead in the ninth.

Trent Whitehead drove home the eventual game winner in the 12th. Seth Simmons survived a scare and got the win on the mound.

It was a comeback that Godwin hopes will continue to pay dividends down the road.

“It will certainly give us even more confidence in close games,” said Godwin. “I told them after the game that if we had that same approach before the first out that we had before the 27th out, we could really do some special things. Baseball is just a crazy game.”

Houston took game two of the series 4-2 on Friday (View Box Score). Godwin was disappointed with the Pirates' approach and told them so leading into the rubber match.

“I really thought that, after a great win on Thursday night, that we slept walked through the game on Friday night,” explained Godwin. “It was disappointing to me and I think it was disappointing to our players. I got on them a little bit on Saturday morning before we played. I told them that if they wanted this they had to attack and be aggressive.”

On Saturday, the Pirates banged out a season high five home runs and blasted the Cougars 12-2 (View Box Score).

The series win keeps the Pirates right in the thick of things in Conference USA. With an RPI of 19, the Pirates are also right in line for an NCAA tournament berth.

This is another big week. East Carolina opens at Old Dominion on Tuesday, and then returns home for the return game with North Carolina on Wednesday night.

The Pirates host Conference USA leader Southern Miss for the weekend. The Golden Eagles are 9-3 in league play and 30-9 overall.

Godwin likes where his team is, knowing that the next few days could have momentous implications.

“With 16 games to go and to be where we are at right now, this is a huge week,” Godwin said. “We have four games against top 20 RPI opponents, which would go a long way if we can have a good week.”

While the Southern Miss matchups are the main concern because they represent a conference series, many of the Pirate players have extra incentive for the UNC-Chapel Hill game.

The middle infielders combined for five errors in the Pirates' 5-3 loss to the Tar Heels at Boshamer Stadium two weeks ago (View Box Score).

“If you take their entire body of work, that’s not what we have been about," remarked Godwin. “We are still fielding at a .970 which is a good average for a good college baseball team. There should be some determination that they want to come back and play well and do the things that they know they are capable of doing against a very quality opponent.”

East Carolina ace Seth Maness didn’t pitch in the Houston series. He’s now listed as day to day. Maness had some stiffness after his last outing, and the Pirate coaches didn’t want to rush him back.

Godwin says he wants to give Maness a couple of good bullpen sessions before getting him back out there.

“We’ll have him for Sunday if he’s feeling good,” said Godwin. “But we won’t rush him back.”

Game times for this weekend with Southern Miss are 6 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.


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Brian Bailey Archives

04/26/2011 04:35 AM


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