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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

By Brian Bailey

ECU aims to loosen up at the beach

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

For the ninth time in the last decade, East Carolina will play in the NCAA baseball regionals.

For the first time, the Pirates are headed to Conway, SC, where Coastal Carolina will play host as the number one seed.

The Pirates are seeded second. Alabama, one of nine teams from the Southeastern Conference in the tournament, is the third seed. Columbia is the fourth seed.

Surprisingly, Coastal Carolina will meet Columbia in the 1:00 game on Friday. The Pirates will play the Crimson Tide in the 7:00 game that night.

East Carolina coach Billy Godwin was delighted with the news.

“This starts a new season for us,” said Godwin. “We’re excited. We’ve got a good week ahead to get ready to go down to Myrtle Beach.

"We’re excited about our draw and we look forward to playing fairly close so our fans can make the trip. We’re very excited.”

The major concern out of the Pirate camp is on offense. The Pirates lost two out of three games in the Conference USA Tournament, scoring a grand total of just nine runs.

Godwin says he thinks his team just came out tight in New Orleans, for whatever reason. He says that will be key coming up this weekend.

“One of the things we’ve done all year is hit,” said Godwin. “I think guys were pressing. We’re going to do some things this week, some drills, to try and get guys more relaxed at the plate.”

ECU slugger Corey Kemp was also surprised at the team's offense in the C-USA Tournament.

“I thought we pitched well and played good defense,” said Kemp. “You’d like to do it all but it just didn’t happen. We’ll just get back to practice and work on relaxing. We know we are a good hitting team.

"We just have to let the game come to us, and not press so much.”

The Pirates will certainly be tested in their opener. Alabama comes from a tough baseball league and the match-up looks pretty even on paper. The Pirates will most likely start true freshman Seth Maness against the Crimson Tide.

Although Coach Godwin hasn’t announced it, look for T.J. Hose to come on in relief in the regional. Justin Bristow will likely start the second game. Hose relishes the likelihood of getting the call out of the bullpen.

“I hope so,” said Hose. “I told Coach Godwin before the C-USA tournament to use me in the first two games if I could come in and give us a chance to win. I definitely want that opportunity to come out of the pen.”

Hose was originally recruited as a closer. He certainly could take that role again this weekend.

A trip to the beach to start the summer should be fun.

Coastal Carolina is favored as the top seed, but you have to like East Carolina's and Alabama’s chances, depending on how things play out.

The winner heads to the Super Regionals. The Conway regional is paired up with the Cary regional, where North Carolina is the number two national seed.

Call it “May Madness” or “Baseball Bracketology.”

Whatever you call it, it is college baseball at its best!


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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

05/27/2008 02:10:03 AM


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