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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

ECU, State will be posturing for postseason


Head Coach Randy Mazey had never seen anything like it.

Assistant coach Tommy Eason had similar thoughts. As pitching coach, Eason hopes he never sees anything like it again.

The Pirates gave up 34 runs in three games last weekend at Cincinnati, but won all three in runaway fashion.

You’ve heard of the Sports Illustrated Jinx. Eason thinks he was jinxed on my Talk 1070/Cable 7 call-in show last week. On that show, we talked about a pitching staff that had an ERA of 2.99 for the year.

Brian Bailey Show Jinx?

The weekend after Brian Bailey and ECU pitching coach Tommy Eason talked on the The Brian Bailey Show about the remarkably low earned run average of the Pirates' pitchers, that very staff surrendered almost three dozen runs in winning three high-scoring games at Cincinnati.

The Jinx took on even more credence Tuesday evening. Only 24 hours after Kinston Indians general manage Clay Battin appeared on Brian's show and talked about the K-Tribe's red-hot 10-0 season start, Cleveland's Eastern N.C. Class A affiliate bit the dust 9-1 at the hands of the Wilmington (DE) Blue Rocks.


Replay this week's Brian Bailey Show with guest Clay Battin, GM of the Kinston Indians: Select clip...

In one crazy weekend in Cincinnati, that number inched closer to four then to three.

Still, Eason and Mazey aren’t all that concerned.

“Believe it or not, we really didn’t pitch it all that badly,” said Eason. “It just seemed to be a case where everything we threw up there, they seemed to hit. I think our guys will bounce back, though.”

Mazey agreed. “You look at it,” he said. “We gave up 34 runs in three games. Usually you go 0-3 if you do that, but we won three games pretty handily. We scored 60 runs ourselves.

"Guys are just standing in there with a lot of confidence in there. I’ve got a lot of confidence in them — even our pinch hitters have so much confidence. It really changes the way our own pitchers go about their business. They can afford to attack the strike zone, because they know that if we do give up a couple of runs, we’ll come back and score a bunch.”

Nationally, this team is finally starting to get some of the respect it deserves. The Pirates are ranked as high as 9th in the nation going into tonight’s game with North Carolina State.

“We’re sitting in a good position right now,” Mazey said. “I don’t know if everyone realizes how important the polls are in getting into position to host a regional or a super regional. You really want to be a national seed, one of the top eight seeds in the nation when it comes tournament time.

"We are in a great position, if we can just continue to take care of business over the next 20 games.”

Speaking of the NCAA baseball tournament and the “Road to Omaha,” Mazey is particularly aware of the implications this match up with N.C. State may have down the line.

“It’s a huge game," he said. "The NCAA really looks at non-conference games. To play a team in the Top 25, with their caliber, in their park, we’ll be fired up and we should have a great crowd.

"We’ve outdrawn just about everybody on the road and I hope this is the case as well. I hope a lot of Pirate fans will go up and support us. The players really love to hear the “purple” chant from our fans when we’re on the road. I think our guys will respond well to our crowd in Raleigh.”

As far as the scouting report goes for tonight’s game, the Pirates expect a little “small ball” from the Pack. Coach Mazey says this State team will try and test the Pirates' defense in the game.

“I think they’ll look at our numbers from this past weekend and they’ll think they can certainly score,” Mazey said. “I also think we’ll see some of their best arms after the numbers we posted last weekend.”

The Pirates will start Ricky Brooks on the mound tonight. Brooks is an outstanding freshman hurler who will have plenty of help if needed.

“We’ll start Brooks, but we’ve got plenty of arms to go to,” said Mazey. “We have several guys who need to throw, so we’ll just wait and see how the game goes.”

East Carolina and N.C. State always put on a good show for baseball. The weather is expected to be perfect for a game that could mean something later this season as we continue to venture along that “Road to Omaha.”

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02/23/2007 01:29:16 AM

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