ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Pirates' full focus is on Tar Heels
By Brian Bailey
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East Carolina completed an
expected sweep of Savannah State this weekend and now the Pirates have
sights set on tonight's game at North Carolina.
The Heels are ranked as high
as fourth in the polls. East Carolina is ranked only in the National
Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, at number 25.
The Pirates did a lot of good
things this weekend against an outmanned Tigers team. Most notably,
according to Pirate coach Billy Godwin, was ECU's defense.
“Probably the thing I was most
impressed with is that we played three games and we didn’t make an error,”
said Godwin after Sunday’s 14-5 victory. “This team has played good defense
all year and we turned some tough double plays today. That’s the sign of a
good club, consistency across the board. You come in and you don’t kick the
ball around at all.”
The Pirates also took turns
banging the ball around the park at Clark-LeClair. In the 4-0 week, the team
hit .374 with eleven home runs, 43 runs scored, and 11 doubles. ECU
collected 24 walks and its hitters struck out just eight times in four
The Pirates have found another
long ball threat in freshman Kyle Roller. Roller hit .455 this past week,
with three home runs, a triple, seven runs and six RBI’s. He was walked
eight times for a grand total of 16 total bases. His rocket shot on
Wednesday night against Old Dominion was a true blast. Rumor is that Steve
Shankweiler found the ball in one of the blocking sleds the next day.
Ryan Tousley hit a couple of
homers on Sunday to raise his season total to 10. I didn’t think any Pirate
would hit 15 homers this season, but Tousley is the Conference USA leader
and is halfway home to 20. Tousley certainly has all conference type stats
with 10 home runs, 44 RBI’s, 27 runs and 87 total bases.
Tousley understands the
importance of tonight’s game with the Tar Heels.
“It’s a big game,” said
Tousley. “I hear it’s a tough place to play. I know they had a tough series
in Tallahassee (losing two out of three to Florida State). It should be a
Stephen Batts agrees.
“It’s a big game," said Batts.
"But we’ve played lots of big games and we’ll take a lot of confidence to
Carolina. We’ve beaten big teams so we’re used to this kind of pressure.”
For second year Pirate coach
Billy Godwin, the game has added meaning because of his relationship with
Tar Heel coach Mike Fox.
“It’s kind of special for me,”
said Godwin. “It’s my first time at UNC against Coach Fox, who was a mentor
for me. It will have special meaning because Coach Fox meant so much to me
in my coaching career."
Fox was in Greenville back in
January as the guest speaker for the Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove League. Fox
spoke very highly of Godwin and his staff at East Carolina.
With that being said, this is
still East Carolina against North Carolina on the diamond. After two losses
this season to N.C. State, you get the feeling that this is a Pirate team
that really wants to make some noise against the Tar Heels.
“I don’t think there is any
added pressure,” said Godwin. “I think our guys will look forward to it. I
promise you I won’t have to give them a big pep talk. The game will be
special for them.”
Adam Warren from New Bern will
start for North Carolina. Warren is 7-0 on the season with a 2.13 ERA. The
Pirates will counter with Mike Anderson, who is 1-0 with a .90 ERA.
The Tar Heels return the game
in Greenville on May 9th.
Midweek games are a different
animal. Conference games are more important in the long run, but a shot at a
rival that’s ranked in the Top Ten is also a very important opportunity!
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04/21/2008 07:06:08 PM