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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Pirates cool-headed as tourney looms

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


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The East Carolina Pirates were back on the field at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Monday, gearing up for the upcoming Conference USA Tournament.

It was certainly a relaxed atmosphere around the simulated scrimmage. In fact, Dale Mollenhauer played shortstop for one of the teams, wearing a brace on his injured throwing hand. He looked good, too. He almost threw out Jake Dean at first base on one play, catapulting the ball to first with his glove hand!

“I don’t know what the difference is,” said Ryan Tousley after Monday’s practice. “We are just more relaxed this year. We’re not pressing. And we’re looking forward to Wednesday night’s game with Tulane here at home.”

Pirate coach Billy Godwin has his team in a relaxed state of mind for the start of the postseason. Many feel that the Pirates are in the NCAA regionals, regardless of how things turn out. Of course, winning a few games would only add to the resume.

“Our guys are excited to back at home at Clark-LeClair Stadium,” said Godwin after Monday’s workout. “The difference in our season was the two weekends when we lost the first two games and then came back and won big on Sunday. We were able to really turn it around from there.

"We just feel that we have to get hot at the right time and play well.”

If there was a concern to start the week, it was with the flu bug. Several players, most notably Ryan Wood, Dustin Sasser and Shane Matthews, missed Monday’s practice with flu-like symptoms.

“I don’t think it’s going to be anything that holds us back,” said Godwin. “I just told the guys that if they weren’t feeling well then to get to the doctor and get well. Anybody that had the sniffles today we decided to hold back.”

East Carolina’s traditional Friday night starter, T.J. Hose, will get the start on Wednesday night against Tulane.

“I just want to come out and get ahead in the count early,” said Hose. “When I struggle, I get behind in the count and have to throw more fastballs. I just want to come out and establish all three of my pitches.”

“We will go with T.J. in the opener, and then we’ll go with “to be determined,” said Godwin. “We’ll take a look at matchups and see who gives us the best chance to win after that.”

I asked Coach Godwin if “to be determined” was a good pitcher. I should have asked if he was a righty or a lefty.

“He’s a good guy,” said Godwin laughing. “I thought Dustin [Sasser] threw well last week. Dustin pitched well enough to win; you just have to score more then three runs. I thought Josh Dowdy gave us another solid Sunday effort. I really feel good where our pitching is right now.”

Godwin’s main concern is with his team’s inconsistency at the plate.

“We did bust out of it on Sunday with 16 hits,” said Godwin. “We know we can play with anybody in the country when we play our game. We’ve proven that.”

It should be several great days of baseball. It all starts bright and early on Wednesday morning.

Rice is the favorite, but I like East Carolina’s chances, especially after I received my media pass for the tournament.

Each pass is numbered. My pass is number 23.

That certainly gave me chills.

I hope to see you at the tournament.


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04/21/2008 07:02:24 PM


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