ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
By Brian Bailey
ECU's road to Omaha starts in Chapel Hill
By Brian Bailey
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East Carolina’s baseball team
is back in the NCAA regionals, and the Pirates don’t have to travel far to
ESPN actually screwed up the
brackets on the selection show. It will be Jacksonville, and not Wofford as
announced, in the Chapel Hill regional as the 4th seed.
ECU is the number two seed in
the Chapel Hill regional, hosted by No. 3 national seed North Carolina. The
ACC champs will meet Jacksonville in the first round, while ECU takes on
So the “Carolinas Directional”
regional features north, east and west.
South also has its own
regional, which includes another north in N.C. State down in Columbia.
The Pirates are 1-2 in games
against teams in the Chapel Hill regional, having
beaten Western Carolina earlier this
year in Greenville, and having lost both ends of a
home with the Tar Heels.
“We’re very excited about
making the NCAA field,” said Coach Billy Godwin shortly after Monday's
announcement. “This is our goal each and every year. We want to win
championships. There are 64 teams that have a shot to go to Omaha and we’re
going to prepare and work like we’re going to be one of them."
Coach Godwin said it wasn’t
really a surprise that the Pirates ended up in Chapel Hill.
“That’s what we kind of
thought all along,” said Godwin. “With all of the speculation and
everything, it’s what we thought. Sometimes things change but it wasn’t
really a surprise.”
The Pirates and Western
Carolina played a great game back on March 4 as a part of the Keith LeClair
Classic. East Carolina won the game 3-2 on a Brandon Henderson RBI double in
the bottom of the 9th.
The Tar Heels outscored East
Carolina 15-1 in their two games, shutting out the Pirates 10-0 in Chapel
Hill, and then winning 5-1 in Greenville.
North Carolina is the obvious
favorite in the regional as the No. 3 national seed. The Heels are looking
for a return trip to Omaha. They all but won the national title last year,
and would like nothing more then to make up for that disappointment with a
title run this year.
If East Carolina and North
Carolina hook up this time, the situation will be much different. The
Pirates would get a chance to use one of their top pitchers. North Carolina
is obviously deeper then ECU, but a regional matchup narrows the gap on the
mound a bit.
Although it wasn’t announced
as such, T.J. Hose will likely get the start against Western Carolina on
Friday. Hose knows that the match up with the Catamounts will be difficult
enough. He also hopes that a Dustin Sasser or a Josh Dowdy gets a shot at
“I’m certainly not taking
anything away from our midweek guys,” said Hose. “But it will be nice to see
a guy like Sasser go out there, if that’s how it works out.”
To a man this Pirate team
knows that the Heels haven’t seen East Carolina’s best effort.
“We can’t think about that
yet,” said Harrison Eldridge. “We have to go and take it one game at a time.
That means Western Carolina first.”
The Pirates had a nice run in
the Conference USA tournament, and hope to carry that momentum into this
Chapel Hill regional. I think last week gave us all a little taste of what
it will be like when the Pirates do host their own regional.
“I think we will take some
momentum into the NCAA’s,” said Godwin. “I was proud of the way we battled
Hopefully, the Pirates will
take some of that fight to Chapel Hill. It won’t be easy, but you know this
Pirate team wants to play a little better against the boys in blue.
First things first, though.
The opener with Western Carolina will be anything but a walk in the park.
It should be fun. For the
Pirates, it’s great to be back in the NCAA tournament.
The goal is Omaha. The goal
will always be Omaha.
Hope to see you in Chapel Hill.
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05/29/2007 12:48:01 AM