TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Monday, May 21, 2012
Pirates get set to
face elite field
recorded by Brian Bailey.
Carolina baseball coach Billy Godwin
previews the Conference USA Tournament:.
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The regular season is in the books. It wasn’t the season that Billy
Godwin and his Pirates were hoping for, but it is still a very solid
body of work that should put East Carolina in the NCAA tournament next
East Carolina enters play in the 2012 Conference USA tournament as the
sixth seed. The Pirates will see Central Florida, UAB and Tulane in
their half of the bracket. The tournament is set up with two pods, with
the pod winners playing in a one-game championship game on Sunday that
will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
The Pirates lost two out of three at UCF this season. East Carolina
swept UAB at home, but lost two out of three to Tulane at Clark-LeClair
“Whether you are two, three, six or seven you are still playing the same
teams,” said ECU coach Billy Godwin. “We were half a game out of third
and three games out of the loss column from winning the league. Every
team in our bracket is a team that we have had some success against. We
have an elite baseball league and we know the teams are good.”
Hard luck lefthander Kevin Brandt will get the start for East Carolina
in the opener against the Green Wave on Wednesday night. Brandt’s record
isn’t anywhere indicative of just how good he has been this season. He’s
just 7-5, but he leads the team in innings pitched with 94 with an
earned run average less than two.
“Every start is a big start,” said Brandt. “We go out and try to win
every game, but now it’s crunch time. I just want to do everything that
I can to let us go out there and win.”
Brandt has three complete games this season. Unfortunately, he was the
losing pitcher in all three of those games.
Jharel Cotton has the best record on the staff. Cotton’s lone loss came
in the regular season finale at
Virginia Commonwealth when he lasted just two-thirds of an inning. He
gave up six runs (one earned) on one hit with three walks. He also hit
Cotton was being held out with back spasms near the end of the regular
season and Godwin says he thought his pitcher was healthy enough to go
“I’m not concerned,” said Godwin. “I would be concerned if there were
four or five of those starts. He said he was healthy and he looked
healthy to me. He just had a bad outing. Usually when great competitors
have bad outings they bounce back strong and I’m hoping Jharel can do
Jay Cannon is expected to be back and ready to go for the tournament.
The Pirates' offense has struggled so much this year and they need their
fifth place hitter to come in and give the offense a boost.
Godwin says his club has yet to put all three phases of the game
together. He knows time is running out.
“I still believe that this team has yet to put its best baseball
together,” said Godwin. “We have good hitters. Our pitchers have been
solid. If we could just go in there and refocus our energy and intensity
on one pitch at a time and one play at a time, I think we can do well.”
This senior class, led by catcher Zach Wright and third baseman Corey
Thompson, has one last shot at a Conference USA tournament title. East
Carolina has only one C-USA tournament title in its history.
That title came in 2002 in Kinston,
when the Pirate players celebrated the championship by dumping Gatorade
on Coach Keith LeClair’s van in right field.
This senior class would like nothing more than to find success in Pearl,
Mississippi, this week.
“We just have to throw strikes and make the routine plays,” said
Thompson. “We have to keep hitting the baseball and hope that some of
those balls find holes. We are just worrying about one game at a time.
It’s going to be a struggle because all of these teams in this
conference are good. I think we will play well.”
First up is Tulane. The Pirates have Thursday off and then close out
with UCF and UAB. Click here to view the pods and the complete
The postseason is on for Pirate baseball. — BB
2012 Conference USA Baseball Tournament
Pod 1 (Seeds 1, 4 5, and 8)
1. Rice vs. Southern Miss, Memphis and Houston
4. Southern Miss vs. Rice, Memphis and Houston
5. Memphis vs. Rice, Southern Miss and Houston
8. Houston vs. Rice, Southern Miss and Memphis
Pod 2 (Seeds 2, 3 6, and 7)
2. UCF vs. Tulane, East Carolina and UAB
3. Tulane vs. UCF, East Carolina and UAB
6. East Carolina vs. UCF, Tulane and UAB
7. UAB vs. UCF, Tulane and East Carolina
Day-by-Day Schedule of Games
Wednesday, May 23
Game 1 - (5) Memphis vs. (4) Southern Miss at 12 noon
Game 2 - (8) Houston vs. (1) Rice at 4 p.m.
Game 3 - (6) East Carolina vs. (3) Tulane at 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 24
Game 4 - (7) UAB vs. (2) UCF at 12 noon
Game 5 - (8) Houston vs. (4) Southern Miss at 4 p.m.
Game 6 - (5) Memphis vs. (1) Rice at 8 p.m.
Friday, May 25
Game 7 - (7) UAB vs. (3) Tulane at 12 noon
Game 8 - (6) East Carolina vs. (2) UCF at 4 p.m.
Game 9 - (8) Houston vs. (5) Memphis at 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 26
Game 10 - (3) Tulane vs. (2) UCF at 12 noon
Game 11 - (7) UAB vs. (6) East Carolina at 4 p.m.
Game 12 - (4) Southern Miss vs. (1) Rice at 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 27
Championship Game at 2 p.m. (televised by CBS Sports
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