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East Carolina was hoping to open its Conference USA slate with a
three-game sweep over Marshall.
But after a frustrating weekend, it was the Herd that left Greenville
a series win.
I really don’t think the individual losses bothered Pirate coach Billy
Godwin as much as how the Pirates dropped two out of three to Marshall
Game one was as frustrating as it gets. Jeff Hoffman, the Pirate ace,
just couldn’t get the ball in the strike zone. He started and others
contributed to the tune of 11 walks and four hit batsmen by pitching
Despite the 15 free passes, the Pirates rallied and had a shot to pull
one out of the fire. This ECU team fell just short, and looked to
rebound in game two.
The Pirates did just that doing what this club does best. The Pirates
won the second game with pitching and defense. Though
they scored just one run, they were winners — 1-0 or 100-0, they all
count the same.
That stellar pitching and defense took Sunday off. The Pirates committed
four big errors. There were several base-running blunders.
It was ugly baseball.
Godwin was visibly upset, perhaps reaching into his thought process for
answers as he addressed the media.
“We are fighting to score runs and we can’t shoot ourselves in the
foot,” said Godwin. “Usually when teams score crooked numbers, it’s
usually the result of a walk, hit batter or an error, and we did all
three. It seems like every mistake is magnified.”
One play late in the game told the story. Drew Reynolds popped up to
shallow left field with two on and no out. Two freshmen were the base
runners. One got picked off as he couldn’t get back after the shortstop
made the relatively routine play. The other runner got picked off by the
“They were freshmen but there’s no excuse,” explained Godwin. “They were
baseball plays. We talk about it all the time in our program. You can’t
make outs on the bases when you are behind. We made two Little League
type of mistakes. It’s disappointing but it’s my responsibility and we
are going to work as hard as we can to correct it and that’s all we can
The good news is that the Pirates have a quick turnaround. That, of
course, could be bad news as well if the mistakes aren’t corrected.
“We are on spring break and we’ve got five games this week,” Godwin
continued. “We need a good, fundamental type of workout (Monday). We run
the bases every day at practice. We just need to get back out there and
get this taste out of our mouth.”
The Pirates host UNC-Greensboro Tuesday and then meet Wake Forest on
Wednesday in Wilson.
Pirate hoopsters head to El Paso
The ECU basketball team heads to El Paso as the 12th seed in
the Conference USA basketball tournament.
If the Pirates win their opener over 13th seed UTSA, they would then be
matched up with host team Texas-El Paso.
ECU coach Jeff Lebo has seen that situation before.
“Anything can happen,” said Lebo before his team headed west. “It will
be hard for us because of our lack of depth. If we advance then we get a
road game. That happened ... last year when we get a bye and then we get
the host team.”
Lebo gave us all a lesson on March Madness with last year’s postseason
run for the Pirates. He knows that the odds are long, but not
“I talked to our team about Syracuse,” said Lebo. “About how they won
five games in five days a couple of years back. We are young and used to
playing a lot of games. In AAU ball they would play three games in a
day, so we certainly are capable.”
Still, Lebo knows his team has to improve on its performance down the
“We have to play better than we did in our last game,” Lebo said. “We
have to put the ball in the basket. When we have played well we have
been able to distribute the basketball. This is a tough way to end it.
Going on the road like we did and now going to El Paso to finish up. Our
kids have been resilient and I think we will play well.”