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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Streaking Pirates approaching big hurdles

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


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East Carolina’s baseball team is riding high after a three-game sweep of Memphis this past weekend.

That 2-5 start seems like a lifetime ago for this team. Billy Godwin has this crew playing at a very high level as we approach the midway point of the season. The 13-game winning streak for East Carolina is the longest in the nation.

The sweep over Memphis and the mid-week victory over High Point moved East Carolina into the Top 20 in the Baseball America poll at number 19. The Pirates are also ranked 21st by Collegiate Baseball.

“Our guys are playing really well,” said Godwin. "I’m really pleased. It’s important for us to continue with this, though. Right now, we have a lot of confidence and we’re playing well.”

Game one of the Memphis series was similar to how the series went last year. The Tigers ripped the cover off of the baseball and built a 10-4 lead on East Carolina into the 6th inning.

But the Pirates then went on an offensive surge that lasted the rest of the series. Led by the likes of Dale Mollenhauer and Harrison Eldridge, ECU would score 31 unanswered runs over the rest of the weekend.

Five Pirates hit over .400 for the week, resulting in a 4-0 record as the winning streak continued.

“I just think they feel comfortable at the plate,” said Godwin. “They aren’t striking out a lot. I think that’s an important part of it. We are getting quality at-bats. We haven’t been swinging at bad pitches early in the count. I give Coach (Link) Jarrett a lot of credit for that. He does a great job with our hitters."

Eldridge seems to always get on base. He hit .533 (8-15) for the weekend. He is certainly the spark for the Pirate offense, and he was honored this week as the Conference USA Hitter of the Week.

Mollenhauer also swung a big stick for ECU this weekend. He hit .417 (5-12) in the Memphis series, with two home runs, six runs scored, seven RBI's and a grand total of 11 bases.

“We are playing well,” said Mollenhauer. “Everybody seems to be doing their part and picking each other up. We have a lot of confidence. Everybody is doing their own thing well. When we are all good individually, it just makes the team better.”

At 19-6 on the year, the Pirates are well on their way to toward a return trip to the NCAA regionals. The next couple of weeks should send a clear message either way.

The Pirates host rival UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night to conclude this most successful 21-game home stand. ECU then hits the road for a key three-game C-USA series against 29th-ranked Tulane. The Pirates will play N.C. State in Raleigh for next week’s midweek game before hosting C-USA powerhouse Rice, ranked No. 9 in the Baseball America poll, in a three-game set.

It’s a tough schedule for sure. But looking back, the Pirates have pretty much handled the first 25 games on the slate.

Pirate baseball is the best show in town. Godwin has the squad hitting on all cylinders. This should be a most exciting spring down the stretch!

Program Note

Fox Sports Net will air a special addition of “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” on Tuesday night, featuring the fifty greatest sports bloopers of all time.

Many Pirate fans remember back in 1991, when the cannon almost scared the life out of a young sportscaster. That was the first year of the cannon in the end zone at East Carolina. That “blooper” has been around for years, and will now resurface as part of this new collection.

The show is scheduled to air on Tuesday night at 11:00 in Eastern North Carolina. Fox Sports Net is channel 36 on Suddenlink cable in Greenville.

My son saw the clip and laughed. He said no one will know it’s me, because I look so young, my hair is black and I have a mustache.

He’s probably right. Time does fly when you’re having fun!


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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

04/21/2008 07:06:59 PM


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