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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Pirate baseball opens with question marks

Replay the audio archive of Tuesday night's Brian Bailey Show, with guests Randy Mazey and Bill Carson:
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Perhaps the only bad thing about setting school records for wins (51), hits (725), doubles (153), home runs (100) and RBI's (481) is that there is always a next year.

Next year is here, and this is a totally different Pirate baseball team.

While most, if not all, of the above records may be safe for this year, this is still going to be an outstanding baseball team. East Carolina may have dropped two out of three to the College of Charleston, but there were plenty of positives to look forward to the rest of this baseball season.

The question marks obviously begin on the mound. After three games, Randy Mazey is still trying to decide just whom he can turn to when he has to get a batter out.

That was the most urgent problem coming out of the three-game series this past weekend. The Pirates gave up a 3-run homer on Friday in the 9th that tied the first game of the series. East Carolina did rally to win that game in extra innings.

In game three, the Pirate staff gave up a walk-off series-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth.

“I think it may be a mental thing for a while,” said Coach Randy Mazey. “Until we get someone out in a key spot like that, I know that the guys will be thinking about it.”

Mazey says the staff may have lost a little confidence, but some of the problems are correctable.

“We got behind in both of those counts,” Mazey said. “We have to be more aggressive early in the count in those situations.”

Mazey said he’ll stick with the same type of rotation to try and close games out.

“All of the guys pitched well at times,” said Mazey. “We’ll use Mike Flye, T.J. Hose, and Kevin Rhodes again. I like these guys and I think we’ll do a better job out of the pen.”

East Carolina is back in action in Myrtle Beach, SC, this weekend for the Baseball at the Beach Tournament.

The Pirates take on Coastal Carolina on Friday. They play West Virginia on Saturday and then close out the weekend with a match up against Clemson on Sunday afternoon.

International spotlight

East Carolina freshman LaShawn Merritt continues to turn heads on a national scale and beyond.

For the second straight week, Merritt was named the United States Track Coaches Association Male Athlete of the Week in NCAA Division I competition.

Merritt won the 400 meters in a new collegiate indoor record time this past weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

That performance also set a new indoor world junior record and is the third-fastest indoor 400-meter time in world history. Michael Johnson has the world record at 44.63, set in 1995, and Johnson’s 1996 time of 44.66 are the only two performances that are faster.

Bill Carson is in his 37th year with the Track and Field program at East Carolina. He’s worked with some amazing athletes over almost four decades. Merritt, though, may be the best.

“He is really something special,” said Carson. “The BBC came over the other day to interview him. Track is the number two sport in Europe, just behind soccer. They already love him over there!”

Carson says Merritt handles himself with the very best. Only the legendary Michael Johnson has run a faster 400 indoors. The ECU track coach says Merritt is following in Johnson’s footsteps.

“Michael Johnson was an ambassador for the sport,” Carson said. “That’s the way LaShawn will be. LaShawn is a good looking kid and he is going to be something.”

LaShawn Merritt may be the next Michael Johnson. Talk about a purple and gold flash. Just think how fast he would look on a post route for Coach Holtz!

Good riddance

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Marquette assistant coach to show us something new.

In the heat of Marquette's game with East Carolina at Minges Coliseum's Williams Arena last Saturday night, that coach came over to ECU's side to get into a discussion with an official and Pirate assistant Coach Greg Herenda.

The official should have sent the Marquette coach back to his team's side. Instead, he allowed him to hang around long enough for Herenda to do the honors. The coach barked back, and both teams picked up technical fouls.

How can a coach for another team come all the way over to the other team’s bench anyway? He had no business in Herenda’s face! Herenda did the right thing, by defending Bill Herrion and his Pirate team.

Not that I’m condoning violence, but Herenda should have kicked the little weasel all the way back to Coach Tom Crean’s bench!

I, for one, am glad to see the crybabies off the Pirate schedule. Coach Crean, ask Dwyane Wade what his record in Williams Arena is for his career!

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02/23/2007 01:31:30 AM

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