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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
By Brian Bailey

'Bitter pill' complicates pursuit of at-large bid


East Carolina came up with just five hits last night in Chapel Hill and its rally fell short. Thus, the Pirates go 0-2 this year against North Carolina.

This one was a most bitter pill to swallow.

The regular season non-conference finale offered the Pirates another chance to knock off a Top 25 opponent.

The Tar Heels were ripe for the picking, too. They were riding a four-game losing streak. But they snapped that streak with the win over the Pirates.

With the loss, the Pirates fall to 32-21 for the season. Many feel that the magic number is somewhere in the “35” range. If that’s the case, then a three-game sweep of Saint Louis to end the regular season would move the Pirates to that number.

I still think East Carolina needs to have a good showing in the Conference USA tournament to be sure. Even with the possible sweep of the Billikens to get to 35, a win or two in the tournament might mean be the deciding factor in getting that at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Chris Powell took the loss against the Heels. He allowed four runs on three hits while walking two and striking out three in 4 1/3 innings worked.

Jason Neitz and Cody Leggett combined to pitch 3 2/3 innings before Mark Minicozzi came on to pitch the eighth. Minicozzi, was making his second appearance on the mound this season. He struck out one in one inning of work.

As far as the hitters were concerned, Adam Witter was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a walk. Drew Costanzo picked up the Pirates' only other extra-base hit with a double off the wall in center in the top of the ninth. Minicozzi did his part at the plate, too, driving in a pair of runs.

The Pirates tried to rally in the ninth.  Costanzo's lead-off double in the final frame and two errors by North Carolina fielders allowed ECU to cut the final deficit to 8-5.

Tar Heel reliever Matt Danford ended the Pirate rally by retiring three straight after East Carolina had runners on the corners with no outs.

For the Pirates, there truly is no rest for the weary.

East Carolina left for Asheville shortly after the conclusion of the N.C. State game last Tuesday. The Pirates beat UNC-Ashville on Wednesday and then flew to Alabama.

East Carolina swept the Blazers, but saw its four-game winning streak end at the hands of the Heels.

The Pirates will break on Wednesday, and then host Saint Louis for a three-game series beginning on Thursday night.

Don’t forget that Saturday is the dedication game at Clark-LeClair Stadium. If the dedication ceremony is anything like the opening ceremony back in March, then you won’t want to miss it.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place for opening day. I don’t know what the plans are for Saturday, but I wouldn’t miss it for anything!

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02/23/2007 01:31:50 AM

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