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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports
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From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
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By Brian Bailey

Chilly start for baseball

©2005 Bonesville.net

Replay the audio archive of Tuesday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guest Vonta Leach: Select clip

You simply can’t describe how cold the wind felt for the first baseball practice of the year for East Carolina. It cut right through to the bone.

Coach Randy Mazey sized up the conditions as a net positive.

He explained it this way: “We know we’ll have a couple of early season games in this kind of weather, so this is a needed cold.”

I needed a scorecard to figure out who the new players were. Sure, I recognized a couple, but this is a very different Pirate baseball team.

Mazey said it was great to get back on the field.

“The offseason goes by so slow, especially when you lose your last game,” Mazey said. “You just can’t wait to get back on the field. It seems like it has been six years since I’ve seen these guys play. We certainly have a lot of work to do and many questions to get answered. But it’s great to be back.”

As cold as it was on Monday, it was colder Tuesday. Mazey says you can still get a lot of work done, despite the cold temperatures.

“On a day like today we’ll keep them moving as much as we can,” Mazey said. “We’ll try to get them to ignore the cold weather. We are trying to get the rust out, hit some balls, drive some balls over the fence to see who’s gained some strength over the off-season.

"We’ll take some ground balls because we haven’t had any grounders on real dirt in a while. I promise that we’ll get in some good work, despite the cold.”

The Pirates first practice was at J.H. Rose High School, because of the work continuing at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Mazey says the temporary move is really not that much of an inconvenience.

“Everybody has bent over backwards to help us,” Mazey said. “But our guys are so committed to winning that we could really practice in a parking lot if we had to. We’re just fortunate to have folks in the community to help us by allowing us to use their facilities.”

The Pirates open the season on February 11th with a road game at the College of Charleston.

Herrion's troops on demanding northerly swing

East Carolina's basketball team hit the road on Tuesday and will be gone for the rest of the week.

ECU takes on 14th-ranked Louisville on Wednesday night at Freedom Hall, and then the Pirates head to Chicago to take on DePaul on Saturday.

Louisville presents another tough challenge for this ECU team.

“They are playing great basketball,” said Pirate Coach Bill Herrion. “Anytime you can go on the road in any conference in the country, and win by 50 points against a league team like Louisville did against Southern Miss, that really makes a statement.”

The Cards struggled for most of the game on Saturday with Cincinnati, only to come back and beat the Bearcats.

“They just don’t take a possession off,” said Herrion. “They pressure you all the time. Plus, Moussa (Badiane) is our only player that has played in Freedom Hall. We’ve played well there in the past. The key, again, is that we just can’t turn the basketball over.”

Herrion says his team took a step backwards in the loss to UAB.

“We just didn’t have the same fire that we had against Cincinnati,” said Herrion. “We all didn’t come to play, and you can’t do that against a quality team in this league.”

The Pirates will leave Louisville and head to DePaul, perhaps the biggest team in the Conference USA. Herrion, though, doesn’t expect that to be an issue.

“We’re not physically getting beaten down,” said Herrion. “We out-rebounded Cincinnati. Our problem is that we have a lack of consistency. We will play well for a stretch, but then we’ll go through a series of empty possessions. When you dig a hole in this league, it’s just so tough to get out of it.”

Herrion deserves the patience of Pirate fans. This is a TOUGH job. The Pirates certainly have a chance to be a player next year in a reconfigured C-USA.

Hopefully, we’ll see signs of that come February with a couple of league wins.

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02/23/2007 01:31:23 AM

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