ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Momentum comes at the right time for ECU
By Brian Bailey
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It is hard to believe there
are only four games left in baseball’s regular season.
It seems like it was just
yesterday that I wrote about how early baseball was “cheating” winter. We
bundled up and had an early spring with baseball.
Now we can see the month of
June coming into view. If you’re still playing in June, then you’re in the
NCAA tournament. That was the goal at the start, and that goal is very much
It’s funny how perceptions go.
East Carolina was picked 5th in the Conference USA preseason poll.
Expectations weren’t all that high. I think this Pirate team has
overachieved this season.
Still, I got an email this
week ripping the program, because the Pirates didn’t beat N.C. State or
North Carolina. The email said that the team has proven that it is not a
championship caliber team.
If you look at the schedule,
I’d say there were some pretty big wins this year. The Pirates are poised to
finish second — behind Rice, the
nation's No. 2 team — in the C-USA
I think this can be a
championship caliber ECU team, and we’ll find out in a couple of weeks at
the C-USA tournament. This is a tough league, and we’ll see that up close
and personal with a week full of baseball later this month.
Central Florida certainly
didn’t go down this weekend without a fight. The Pirates had a 7-1 lead in
game two of the series on Saturday when the storms blew in. On Sunday, the
Golden Knights rallied to tie the game at 7. Corey Kemp then came up with
the biggest hit of his career, a solo homer in the 8th, to
win it for the Pirates.
“I’ve been struggling lately,”
said Kemp afterwards. “I worked with the coaches all week. I was able to
stay through the ball and got a pitch I could handle and drove it out of the
“He was a sidearm guy," Kemp
continued. "I'm sure it (the pitch) was a slider that didn’t slide too much.
It stayed in on me and I stayed through and enough to hit it out of the
Coach Billy Godwin knew that
Sunday’s schedule was going to be difficult.
“I think that first game
showed what momentum does in this game,” said Godwin. “We seized momentum
Saturday (leading 7-1) and we talked about having to regain it. They were
the ones that regained the momentum (with the comeback) but we held them off
enough and Corey had the blow for us.”
UCF has played pretty good
baseball at times, with little to show for it. Kemp’s homer paved the way
game three victory, completing the
sweep over the Golden Knights.
The Pirates completed their
ninth series sweep of the year and fourth in Conference USA play at the
Golden Knights' expense. ECU also swept Cal State Fullerton, Radford,
Michigan, Memphis, UNC-Wilmington, Marshall, Savannah State and Houston.
Perhaps lost in the sweep was
the hitting streak for Stephen Batts. Batts now has the fourth longest
streak in school history at 18 games. During the streak, Batts is hitting
.342 (25-73) with 4 home runs, 15 RBI's and 16 runs scored.
“I just go up there, pitch by
pitch,” said Batts. “I’m really just trying to do my best to get a hit each
Godwin says simplifying things
has helped Batts become a better hitter.
“He’s done a good job,” said
Godwin. “I thought he had a good, two-strike hit today. I think he’s gone
back to simplifying his approach and he’s not trying to do too much. He’s
hitting the ball to all fields and that’s what good hitters do.”
The Pirates close out the home
slate with tonight’s game against Elon.
“They’re a tough club,” said
Godwin. “It seems year in and year out that they are battling for a spot in
First it’s Elon and then the
road trip to UAB to close out the regular season with a three-game set
Next week should provide a
great fix for all baseball junkies with the Conference USA tournament making
its run at Clark-LeClair Stadium starting Wednesday, May 23.
June is just around the
corner, and the Pirates are in a great position for the postseason.
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04/21/2008 07:02:56 PM