TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
for clutch hits
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East Carolina baseball coach Billy Godwin knew playing at Southern Miss
is always a difficult assignment. Still, it was an assignment he and his
team looked forward to.
games resulted in three tough losses and the Pirates limped home with a
very bad taste in their mouths.
“I don’t think it’s frustration,” said Godwin. “I think now it’s
determination. We have to be determined to finish strong and play well
the rest of the way.”
The underlying theme this season is that the Pirates can hit, but they
just haven’t been able to get the key hit. At Southern Miss, the Pirates
hit well below their average and still had a chance to win all three
The series with the Golden Eagles was very even on the stat line. Still,
Southern Miss made the plays it had to in order to win.
In Friday’s game, East Carolina lefty Kevin Brandt had seen the script
before. Brandt was brilliant, giving up just three hits, allowing one
unearned run. He struck out six and walked one in his 12th quality start
of the season.
Brandt retired 18 of the first 19 batters he faced through six innings.
He faced just 28 hitters on the night, which was four over the minimum.
Still, the Pirates couldn’t get that one clutch hit and
lost the game 1-0.
Brandt has three complete games this season, and all three have come in
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that either,” said Godwin when asked
about Brandt’s three complete game losses. “He has really pitched well
Saturday’s game was
suspended because of rain with
the game tied at two. East Carolina scored in the seventh when the game
resumed to go up by a run. The Pirates couldn’t hold the lead and
lost the game 5-3.
That set up the finale, which was on a time limit because of the
Conference USA travel rules. That rule never came into effect, even
though the game went 12 innings.
Again, East Carolina had several chances to take the lead and most
likely win the game. But once more the clutch hits just didn’t’ come and
lost 5-4 in 12 innings.
Southern Miss centerfielder Dillon Day had himself one in the series
Day’s walk-off RBI single in the 12th won the game for the Golden
Eagles. He also made two great throws to gun down Pirate runners. In the
8th inning, Day threw out Corey Thompson who was trying to score on a
Bryan Bass base hit. Then in the 11th inning, Tim Younger singled and
Bass tried to score, only to be thrown out by Day on a close call at
The bottom line is that the Golden Eagles made the plays they needed to
in order to win the game.
The Pirates close out their home schedule tonight hosting High Point at
Clark-LeClair Stadium. Brandt is expected to start on three day’s rest
East Carolina heads to Richmond for a Friday game with VMI and a
Saturday matchup with VCU to close out the regular season.
Then it’s on to Pearl, Mississippi, and the Conference USA Tournament.
Despite getting swept in Hattiesburg, the Pirates are still in a very
good position to make the NCAA tournament field. Every win obviously
solidifies that position even more, but with an RPI in the mid 20’s ECU
will most likely be a number two seed, perhaps in Raleigh or Chapel
“Nobody is more disappointed in losing all three games to Southern Miss
then me or the players,” said Godwin. “We have to be determined to play
our best baseball each and every time out. We have to execute and it
starts at the top with me. If we can win our last three then we’ll head
to the tournament after winning eight of our last eleven.”
The regular season is in its final stages. Teams hope to be playing
their best baseball in May.
Here’s hoping the Pirates get a clutch hit or two over the next couple
of weeks to extend the baseball season.
E-mail Brian Bailey.
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05/15/2012 03:26 AM