TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, February 19,
scrutiny as Pirates regroup
(ECU Media Relations
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Opening weekend was
one to forget for East Carolina’s baseball program.
Virginia came to town and took both games in the snow-shortened series,
13-9. Game three of the series
was cancelled because of the bad weather and will not be rescheduled.
That second final
looked a lot better because the Pirates plated five runs in the bottom
of the ninth.
Actually, game two was
much more what Pirate fans expect this season. The Pirates scratched and
clawed their way to a 4-0 lead. Starting pitcher Ryan Williams certainly
did his job and, with Jeff Hoffman, the Pirates may have a great one-two
punch on weekends.
Andy Smithmyer missed
his start because of the weather.
didn’t have his best stuff in Friday’s loss, but he still kept the
Pirates close. Pirate pitchers walked seven and hit five Cavaliers in
Virginia’s Kenny Towns
took care of the rest in that first game. Towns, who didn’t hit a home
run in 2012, opened 2013 with a first inning grand slam. He belted
another one in the seventh to turn opening day into an opening blowout.
whether you lose 3-2 or 14-4,” said Pirate Coach Billy Godwin to
reporters afterwards. “One of the keys to the game is the freebie, and
we had 12 (the seven walks and five hit batsmen). You do that against a
good offensive club like Virginia, it bodes for a lot of runs being put
on the board.”
On to game two, where
Williams solidified his role as a weekend starter, going six innings,
allowing four runs (3 earned) on six hits, three walks and two
“I was able to throw
strikes early and get ahead,” said Williams after taking the no
decision. “That’s our philosophy, to pitch ahead. You always want to get
the win. I know our team is always going to fight.”
For the second
straight game, the bullpen didn’t help the cause at all. After Williams,
the rest of the staff gave up nine runs on nine hits with seven walks
and just one strikeout. Five of those nine runs were earned.
“The big difference
was pitching,” said Coach Godwin after the game two loss.
Williams made it look easy. He was down in the zone. He attacked the
zone. He threw multiple pitches for strikes.
"Then we go to our pen
and we just haven’t found that. It’s frustrating for me. I really like a
lot of things about our club. But out of the bullpen today we were not
very good at all.”
After ECU built a 4-0
lead, Virginia scored 13 straight runs before the Pirates finally got
back on the board with that five-spot in the ninth when the game was all
Godwin has a very
short time to fix things, with Campbell coming to town Tuesday and then
the start of the annual Keith LeClair Classic on Thursday night.
“We just aren’t very
good at one phase of the game,” said Godwin. “We have to really attack
that (bullpen) and find guys who can come in there and get it done.”
Godwin hasn’t ruled
out making changes in his basic lineup.
“I think it’s still a
work in progress,” Godwin said. “Overall I’ve been pleased with what we
have done on defense and some of our approaches at the plate.”
The Pirates will have
several chances to right the ship this week. Campbell comes to town on
Tuesday, and then the Pirates open the LeClair Classic by hosting
Illinois from the Big Ten.
We only have two games
to judge, but so far the good and the bad are well defined.
Hopefully, the bullpen
woes will work themselves out. The Pirates got solid starting pitching
this weekend, but the relievers struggled.
East Carolina really
doesn't have the type of lineup that can just outscore teams.
Pitching and defense
will be key, and the Pirate arms have to get better quickly.
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02/19/2013 04:13 AM