Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, May 30, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Road to Omaha starts in town
kind to 'believers'
East Carolina Coach Randy Mazey doesn’t particularly like
the match up with No. 2 seed South Carolina to open the NCAA regionals.
“They have strong left handed pitching and that doesn’t
match up with us very well,” Mazey said. “But we’ll just have to find a
Mazey’s Pirates have found a way during much of this season.
The squad won eight of ten Conference USA sets. Pitching has been the key,
because this team never did hit like Mazey had hoped it would.
Despite the pitching strengths, it’s still surprising to
note that ECU's hurlers set a school record this year by striking out 460
batters. Glenn Tucker has 80 K’s this season, while Will Brinson, who will
start Friday’s game for East Carolina, has fanned 71 batters.
The Pirates enter the post season with a team ERA of 4.10.
That mark was fourth best in Conference USA, behind Houston, Southern Miss
and Tulane. ECU pitchers also held opposing hitters to a .269 batting
average, which was best in the league this season.
Pirates, Cocks no strangers
East Carolina and South Carolina have met a total of 13
times on the diamond, with the Gamecocks winning 10 of those games. The
schools have also played three times in the NCAA Tournament, and the ‘Cocks
won all three of those games.
Ironically, the last time these two met was in 1993, also in
Atlanta in the NCAA tournament. South Carolina edge ECU 6-5 in that opening
Regional host and top-seeded Georgia Tech is ranked 10th in
this week's Collegiate Baseball poll, while South Carolina is ranked 15th in
the same poll. The Yellow Jackets are No. 7 in the USA Today Sports
Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll, while the Gamecocks come in at No. 24 in the poll.
Tech is also ranked seventh by Baseball America, while South Carolina is
rated 21st by the same publication.
No. 3 seed ECU and Stetson, the region's fourth seed, are
The Pirates have a nice history in gaining berths in the
NCAA tournament. This will be the program's 19th trip to baseball’s version
of the “Big Dance.” ECU played in the regionals a total of eleven times
through the 1980’s. Since 1990, the Pirates have made it into the tournament
Randy Mazey’s goal when he took over as East Carolina’s
coach was to take this team to Omaha.
Keith LeClair got the Pirates the closest to making the trip
to the College Baseball World Series, when East Carolina hosted but lost to
Tennessee, where Mazey was an assistant coach at the time, in the Super
Regionals in 2001.
I can still hear the trembling in Keith LeClair’s voice
after that second crushing loss to the Volunteers.
“This team will, this program will, someday make it to
Omaha,” LeClair vowed.
Coach, we think about you and your family all the time, but
especially at this time of the year. This was LeClair’s shining moment.
Other coaches helped to put East Carolina baseball on the map. Other coaches
had the Pirates thinking that they could make it to Omaha.
Keith LeClair had them believing.
Believers have found big rewards before in Atlanta, in the
Peach Bowl after the 1991 football season. There's no reason another
inspirational story can't unfold, this time on the diamond.
Good luck to Coach Randy Mazey and this 2003 Pirate baseball
team in Atlanta.
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