TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Friday, June 3, 2011
Pirates clicking, but capable
of better: Godwin
JUNE 3-6, 2011
1. Virginia (50-9)
2. East Carolina (39-20)
3. St. John's (36-20)
4. Navy (33-24-1
vs.St. John's, 1 pm
vs. TBD, 6 pm
All 16 Regional Brackets
All rights reserved.
CHARLOTTESVILLE For the
second straight day the East Carolina baseball team went through a
short, spirited workout. I had a chance to see most of Tuesday's
practice in Greenville, and I got to watch Wednesday's entire practice
Billy Godwin calls his
group loose, but focused. The coach also has his team concentrating on
just one game, and that's the opener with St. John's on Friday night.
Mike Wright gets the start
for the Pirates against the Red Storm. He also deflected questions about
a possible matchup with top ranked Virginia.
"St. John's is our big
game right now," said Wright. "I probably won't see Virginia at all, so
I have to worry about taking care of business in our first game.
One of Wright's best
performances of the year came here in Charlottesville when the Pirates
salvaged the third and final game of that early series with the
Cavaliers. Godwin said that performance really didn't come into play
when he decided on his opening night starter for the regional.
"That's good that he's won
here before," said Godwin. "But he's really pitched well in his last
couple of outings, and I feel confident he'll pitch well again."
Pirate ace Seth Maness
hopes for another shot at Virginia this week. He suffered a 10-1 loss in
the series opener in February when the Pirates committed five errors
He prepared for that
possible start by hitting a home run during the pitcher's portion of
batting practice. Some of his teammates joked that it was a cheap home
run. Maness pulled the ball down the left field line and hit the foul
pole at the 335 mark in left field.
"I just had to show them
how do it," joked Maness. "It wasn't cheap at all," he laughed.
As Godwin said, his
Pirates are loose but focused. Godwin notes his team has won 12 of its
last 15 and is playing its best baseball.
But he also says the
Pirates have yet to play their very best baseball.
Navy takes on Virginia in
the opener on Friday at 1 p.m. The Navy players wore tee shirts with the
slogan "Never Back Down" on them.
Virginia coach Brian
O'Connor knows what his club is up against.
"I know what type of kid
and what type of player you have to be to play at a service academy,"
said O'Connor. "They'll battle hard."
The Pirates and St. John's
play in the 6 p.m. game. Losers on Friday move to an elimination game on
Saturday morning, while the winners move to a Saturday night showdown.
The Pirates may have a
secret weapon this weekend. North Carolina Sports Hall of Famer George
Whitfield is in town, and he watched the Pirates work out today in
The road to Omaha begins
in Charlottesville, with Virginia, as a huge favorite, hosting Navy, East Carolina and St.
E-mail Brian Bailey.
Brian Bailey Archives
06/05/2011 01:20 AM