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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Pirates suffering from deep freeze

By Brian Bailey
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It was a lovely weekend outside, with temperatures in the 70’s.

Unfortunately, it was arctic cold inside for East Carolina’s hoopsters, with the Pirates falling to Rice on Saturday night 64-47.

I haven’t found the words to describe East Carolina’s shooting in the first half of the loss to the Owls.

Courtney Captain saved the cause with a 4-7 performance from the field in the first half. Captain scored ECU's first ten points, but just couldn’t keep up the pace to keep the Pirates close.

While Captain was 4-7, the rest of the squad was an abysmal 1-24 from the outside. That’s an unbelievable four percent for Captain's teammates. To the team's credit, several of the shots seemed to go half way through the hoop before rattling out.

It was enough to make any Captain abandon his ship. Courtney was obviously frustrated when he talked to the media afterwards.

“When you shoot the ball and it goes in and out, that hurts you,” said Captain. “Personally, I’d rather shoot an air ball than for it (the ball) to go down like that. The rim, it was like there was a hand in it, just throwing it back out.”

On the positive side, most of the Pirates' misses were open looks. The team had plenty of good looks against the Rice zone. The shots, though, didn’t fall at all.

This is a young team and there will be more frustrations before things get turned around. I don’t think this is a poor shooting team. Rather, it’s a team that certainly lacks confidence in shooting the basketball.

For anybody that has played the game, you know that some days you can hit from virtually anywhere on the floor. Other days, it seems like you can’t throw it into the ocean. The Pirates certainly missed the Atlantic on Saturday night.

Pirate baseball on deck

East Carolina’s baseball team opened practice this past week. One of the jokes around town is that the weather really doesn’t get cold in Greenville in the winter — until the Pirate baseball team opens play.

The squad had great weather for its first week of practice.

The team held intra-squad scrimmages this past weekend. I had a chance to see some of Friday’s play and was really impressed with Coach Billy Godwin and his staff.

The coaches used the scrimmages to get a “live-game” feel to work on every aspect of the game.

It was the little things that I was most impressed with.

After the defensive team threw a runner out at second for the second out of the frame, Godwin told his pitchers how important it was to go after that third out, to be aggressive and go at the hitter to finish the inning, especially after a great defensive play.

He applauded Ryan Tousley for fouling off a tough, two-strike curve ball. Later in the count, Tousley hit a towering home run to right center field. He praised the hitter for battling tough and staying in the count, before hitting the home run.

Godwin also worked with his base runners. With a runner at first, Godwin told his runners to be aggressive, to get off as far as possible and still be able to get back safely after the catch. If the catch isn’t made, Godwin wants his runner to get to third base, not just to second.

Pirate assistant Link Jarrett spent his time in the middle of the infield, working with the infielders on defense. Jarrett also shared his thoughts on several of the players' at-bats.

Newcomer Bill Jarman, who’s anything but a rookie, spent his time in the first base dugout calling the pitches. Jarman looks to be an excellent addition to the ECU staff, having served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Coastal Carolina for ten seasons. Under his direction, the Chanticleer pitching staff was among the best in the nation, finishing near the top in earned run average, including seventh in 1999 and eighth in 2002.

I always feel like we get a chance to cheat winter by playing baseball in early February. The Pirates open the season with a three-game series against Liberty on February 9th.


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04/21/2008 07:05:17 PM


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