From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Williams goes to work earning No. 23

Ryan Williams earned two victories in ECU's season-opening series this weekend, just a week after being conferred the honor of wearing the No. 23 jersey of late Pirate baseball coach Keith LeClair. (ECU Media Relations photo)

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. This week's topic was East Carolina baseball with guest Billy Godwin, ECU's head baseball coach: Replay show...

Williams goes to work earning #23


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Dukes even series


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ECU wins opener in ninth


Tulsa pulls away from Pirates


ECU track: Faster, higher, stronger


Pirates aim to "go out with a bang"


No. 23 legacy lives on in Williams

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. This week's topic was East Carolina baseball with guest Dan Roszel (left), ECU's pitching coach: Replay show...

By Brian Bailey
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Last week I wrote about how honored Ryan Williams was in accepting the No. 23 jersey to wear this season in tribute to former East Carolina coach Keith LeClair.

This week I’m here to write that Williams is earning that number for sure.

Williams picked up the victory in both of East Carolina’s wins this weekend over James Madison. The Pirates took the opening game 6-5 on a walk-off Dukes' error in the 9th. The Pirates dropped game two, but then came back and took the series with Sunday’s 4-2 win.

Williams was great in both games.

In the opener, this year’s No. 23 threw 2 1/3 innings, giving up a pair of hits, striking out two and giving up just one unearned run.

In game three, Williams pitched 4 shutout innings. He struck out six, and once again he didn’t walk anybody.

Williams didn’t pitch in the second game, which East Carolina lost 5-2 despite outhitting the Dukes 11-9.

For the weekend Williams pitched 6 1/3 innings, striking out 8, while giving up just five hits. He gave up only one unearned run and he didn’t walk a batter. That last stat may be the most important one.

The coaches told me before the season they would use Williams like they used former Pirate reliever Brad Mincey. Pirate fans remember how effective Mince was in long relief. Williams may turn out to be even better.

“I just have to be ready to go every day,” said Williams after the Sunday win. “I really don’t know what's coming that day but I expect to do whatever this team needs. It’s good to come out of the first weekend. We’ve had to deal with snow and stuff so it’s good to get this first series win under our belt.”

“Tyler Bolton gave us a good start,” said Pirate coach Billy Godwin. “Ryan Williams, well we’re not going to waste any time getting to him because that’s the role we’ve talked about for him. Then having Reynolds nail it down at the end of the game was certainly comforting.”

Coach Godwin was pleased with his team’s start, but he knows there are areas that the Pirates have to improve on.

“I think the big thing is that we’ve got to tighten up the little things,” said Godwin. “We had a man on second three times in the game with nobody out and we’re not advancing. We‘re not bunting in those situations because it’s Reynolds, Townsend and Houchins in your middle of the order. We want these guys swinging the bats and moving runners.”

Overall it was a good weekend. Saturday’s weather was absolutely brutal, but certainly not an excuse for a loss. The series win is the seventh in a row for East Carolina dating back to last season.

“If you win every series over the course of a year, it’s a good year,” said Godwin. “Certainly I’d like to come out of here 3-0, but JMU has a good club. They are a veteran group but I thought we did some good things particularly today."

Last year the Pirates were just 4-10 in midweek games, which cost them a spot in the NCAA Baseball Regionals. The team’s first midweek test of the season comes Tuesday when Campbell pays a visit to Greenville.

Last year the Camels swept East Carolina in their two games.

“What happened last year, well we’ve forgotten about, so we’re focused on this year,” said Godwin. “It’s a new club. We’re going to start Reid Love in that game and he’s the guy you got a glimpse of yesterday. We think eventually he’s fighting for a weekend job but we just want him to get his feet back under him. Campbell is a good club. They’re coming off 49 wins and are a team that beat us twice last year. I hope our guys are ready for that because they’re going to come in here and they’re going to play hard.”

The Pirates hit the road next weekend in a big three-game series at Virginia.

The Cavaliers opened the season as the number one team in the nation, but lost to Kentucky before beating VMI and UNC-Wilmington this weekend in the Hughes Bros. Challenge in played in Wilmington.


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02/17/2014 05:53 PM