Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
All not pleased with Pirates'
As East Carolina celebrated its at-large bid into the NCAA baseball
tournament, several coaches and schools around the country were hollering
The Pirates knew going into Monday that they were very much a “bubble
Coach Randy Mazey said he was nervous as the selection show began, but he
thought he had someone on the "inside" of the selection process — to tell
him early if his team was in or out.
In the end, that source was unable to provide much insight and the
suspense became agonizing before ECU finally got a break.
The No. 51 RPI wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was good enough for the
Give credit to the “program”. East Carolina is known for baseball.
My career started with the Gary Overton era. Then came Keith LeClair and
a remarkable run that became complicated in 2002 when LeClair's health
Give a little credit for this year’s NCAA berth to Kevin McMullan, who
pinch hit for LeClair last year and helped lead the team to the Clemson
And give a big pat on the back to Randy Mazey, who has had his share of
problems this year. This team overcame adversity to advance to baseball’s
version of the big dance.
The goal is Omaha. However, you have to first make the field. This wasn’t
a banner year for the Pirates, but because of “the program” this team’s
Several coaches around the country weren’t so impressed. West Virginia
Coach Greg Van Zant told the Charleston Daily Mail that he was “99 percent
sure” that his team would be in the NCAA tournament.
The Mountaineers, despite an RPI of 38, were left out. His exact quote
went as follows: “You’ve got to wonder what the heck is going on,” he said.
“It’s absurd. Putting Florida in is ridiculous. I don’t know what East
Carolina did to make the tournament.”
I’ll admit that I had my doubts about East Carolina making the
tournament. It’s a credit to the league that they play in. Conference USA’s
overall strength worked in the Pirates' favor.
But for some reason that same strength didn’t work in Texas Christian’s
favor. The Horned Frogs swept East Carolina this season and finished 22-8 in
In the final analysis, though, TCU is the first C-USA team to win 22
league games and not make the NCAA field.
Frogs coach Lance Brown was steaming on Monday. He let off some of that
steam when asked about the situation by the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
“It’s about the same thing I thought last year when I saw South Florida
and Tulane pop up," he told the newspaper. "How do you take a team that has
not done any better than that in conference, out of conference, whatever and
give them an invitation to go some place.
"When I saw that, I thought, ‘Well, we’re not going to be in.’ If they’re
going to take somebody that low, they’re going to skip over No. 2 and take 4
and 5. It’s sort of sad, really. I can’t even begin to explain how that can
I say TCU should have gotten in, but not at East Carolina’s expense.
Florida is the team that I have the most trouble with making the
regionals. The Gators failed to even make the 8-team field in the
Southeastern Conference Tournament. Still, somehow, the Gators are in.
Detractors to the Pirates point to the RPI of 51 and the fact that the
Pirates had lost 14 of their final 23 games.
I say the Pirates didn’t necessarily get in on this season’s merit. It’s
a sign of respect for the East Carolina baseball program.
And in a very difficult year for ECU athletics, isn’t it nice to get some
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