TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, February 12,
Godwin & Co. start
with stiff challenge
(ECU Media Relations
All rights reserved.
Mobile Alpha version of this page.
This week, with
alluring glimpses of spring popping in and out of view, the man in blue
will say those magical words to fans of America's pastime. The first
“Play Ball!” of the season comes this Friday as East Carolina opens the
2013 college baseball season.
The road to Omaha
opens in Greenville with perennial Atlantic Coast Conference power
Virginia coming to town for a three-game series. The Virginia baseball
team is ranked No. 25 in the preseason edition of the USA Today Coaches
Poll while the Pirates are unranked.
UVa returns 19
letterwinners from its 2012 squad. That team finished 39-19-1 and hosted
an NCAA Regional, which was the program's ninth-consecutive NCAA
tournament bid. The Cavaliers return six position starters, including
2012 Freshman All-America outfielder Derek Fisher and two-year starting
first baseman Jared King.
ECU Coach Billy Godwin
says playing a nationally-ranked opponent like Virginia helps in many
aspects of the game.
“Guys look forward to
the opening weekend all year long,” said Godwin. “They know and we know
that we have to open the season playing a high level because of the
competition. I think it certainly helps with the attention to detail as
The series with
Virginia will give Godwin and his staff an early barometer for 2013.
“It’s a great series,”
Godwin said. “It will give us an early reading on what we have to
improve on. It will also tell us early the things that we are doing
The pitching rotation
is set for the weekend.
Jeff Hoffman will get the
nod on Friday afternoon in the opener. Hoffman was 3-2 last season with
a 3.67 ERA. He appeared in 19 games and made 10 starts in his freshman
“Jeff has earned the
opening day start,” said ECU pitching Coach Dan Roszel. “All of our
weekend starters for Virginia have earned this chance. It’s up to them
to hold on to these slots because we’ve got some young guys that will
continue to push them.”
Hoffman knew he would
be counted on heavily this season.
“I’ve known that Coach
Roszel and Coach Godwin had a lot of trust in me,” said Hoffman, whose
fastball has been clocked in the mid 90’s at times. “Last year when they
threw me out there so many times, I got the feeling that this year I
would have a pretty big role.”
transfer Ryan Williams will start Saturday’s game, while the Pirates
will go with Andy Smithmyer on Sunday.
The Pirates have more
depth this season and appear to have upgraded the talent in several
slots. Coach Godwin says he'll be playing close attention to how the
inexperienced players deal with actual game conditions.
“My biggest concern is
how the young guys react,” explained Godwin. “We return several guys who
played every day, but we also have some talented newcomers on board.
They just have to stay within themselves and not try to do too much.”
The extended forecast
looks for a great day Friday with sunshine and 60-degree temperatures.
Saturday looks okay, but then bad weather may come into play late
Saturday and into Sunday, which could alter the schedule.
is back at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Virginia is on the
E-mail Brian Bailey.
Brian Bailey Archives
02/12/2013 03:12 AM