ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
By Brian Bailey
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Talk about a Texas
Two-step. Make that a three-step, as 7th-ranked Rice swept East Carolina
in that key Conference USA series in Houston this past weekend.
The Pirates were thoroughly
outplayed on Friday night, but had a real chance to take game two of the
series on Saturday night.
One play certainly doesnít
make a game, or a series for that matter. But when Harrison Eldridgeís catch
in the bottom of the tenth of game two was ruled a trap it certainly took
the wind out of the teamís sails.
A runner at second base with
no outs is light years different then having a runner at second base with no
outs in an inning.
Diego Seastrunk hit what
looked to be a gapper to open the bottom of the tenth. Eldridge made like a
magician to steal away the extra base hit. Or so we all thought.
Umpire John Ausmus ruled the
play a trap.
Billy Godwinís first question
was to find out if it was in fact Ausmusí call. You could read Godwinís lips
on the television broadcast.
To the umpireís credit, he did
have a meeting with the other umpires to see if anyone saw anything
different. Iím sorry, but with legendary Rice coach Wayne Grahamís shadow
hovering over the trio, that call had no chance of getting reversed.
Iím not saying that East
Carolina would have won that second game of the series. Iím also not saying
that game three would have been different.
I am saying that Iíve seen
that play a hundred times from the television angles, and it was a great
play by Eldridge. I wonder how game two would have gone, and game three for
that matter, if the umpires had gotten the call right.
One of those umpires had to
see that it was a catch. One of those guys in blue should have showed a
little more hustle, gotten into better position, and then they would have
gotten the call right.
Godwin showed great restraint
in his discussion with the umpires about the play. So to did Eldridge. It
would have been very easy for Godwin and the Pirates to vent their
frustrations on the men in blue.
Rice is red hot, and they
certainly cooled off East Carolina in that three-game set. Itís now the
Pirates' challenge to dust themselves off, and win a bunch of games to close
East Carolina still has a
chance to host an NCAA regional, which has been the goal all season long. It
is now an uphill climb, but I believe it is an achievable goal for sure.
Tonightís game with UNC-Wilmington
is big. The Seahawks are now ranked 30th in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
UNCW is 29-8-1 and hoping to make its own case to host in the NCAA
Itís a key week for ECU, even
though the weekend features a non-conference series with Presbyterian. The
Pirates really need a 5-0 week to try and get back into the national
With all of this said, the
Pirates' most important assignment is on Sunday. Thatís when the Pirates
will host the Greenville Challenger League for a game. The Pirate
players will serve as buddies for the players, who all have special
needs. Last yearís event was a great success, and I know Coach Godwin
and his Pirates look forward to Sunday.
Everyone is a winner on
Sunday. The game starts at 2:30 and admission is free. Tickets donít cost
anything, and what youíll take away from the game might just last you a
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04/22/2008 01:09:24 AM