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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 5, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Jockeying for first place heats up

By Brian Bailey
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Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guest LINK JARRETT, TOMMY EASON and TRACEY KEE. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250-AM and 930-AM.
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Bailey: Jockeying for first place heats up
BVL: Pirates hang solid in national polls
O'Brien: Bowls underscore C-USA improvement
BVL Box Score: ECU 9, UL-Lafayette 4
BVL Box Score: ECU 3, UL-Lafayette 1
BVL Box Score: ECU 7, UL-Lafayette 1
Myatt: Experienced backs may not be back
BVL: Updated Football Recruiting Thumbnails
BVL: Updated Basketball Recruiting Thumbnails
Batten: ECU football taps Magazu family dynasty
BVL Box Score: Elon 10, East Carolina 8
Bailey: All in a day's work; Challenger League in the spotlight

This first weekend of May is known for horse racing. Mine that Bird came out of nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby. The Conference USA baseball race is more of a three-horse affair.

Two of those horses face off this weekend.

Rice dropped the first game to Houston this past weekend, but the Owls came back and took the series with two straight wins. At the same time, the Pirates swept Louisiana Lafayette in a non-conference series.

With two league weekends to go, Rice leads East Carolina by one game (basically two games because of the tiebreaker) and Houston by two games (three with the tiebreaker).

Rice is certainly in the driver’s seat. The Owls host Central Florida and then travel to UAB to end the season.

Houston has East Carolina this weekend, and then travels to UCF.

The Pirates meet the Cougars before hosting Memphis to close out the season.

The Pirates break this week for exams before making the trip to Texas. Pirate coach Billy Godwin says the break comes at an opportune time.

“It’ll be good,” said Godwin. “We are 48 games in and we need to rest a little bit and focus in. Every weekend in Conference USA is critical. I guarantee that when we get back from Houston we’ll be talking about the Memphis series and how important that series will be.”

East Carolina got great starting pitching all weekend long against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Godwin says that was key, especially getting a good start from Brad Mincey on Sunday.

“You always worry because you don’t have the intensity of a conference weekend,” Godwin explained. “Guys are in exams, so there are a lot of factors going on around them. We played well enough to win three games and we’re grateful for that. We’ll give them time to focus on the academics for the next few days and I guess the next time we play I’ll have their undivided attention because school will be over.”

The Pirates moved up to 24th this week in the poll. ECU is 22nd by NCBWA, 24th by Baseball America and 30th by Collegiate Baseball.

Something to prove in El Paso

The East Carolina softball squad hopes to bring a Conference USA title home from El Paso this weekend.

The Pirates open play on Thursday as the second seed in the tournament. ECU completed the regular season 19-5 in league play but finished percentage points behind Tulsa for the regular season title. Tulsa was 16-4, but lost several games due to weather and ended up with a higher winning percentage than ECU (.800 compared to .792).

“As a team we’ve taken the high side,” said Coach Tracey Kee. “But I could tell at practice today that it may give us added motivation.”

The Pirates are 40-14 and hope to add to their NCAA resume with a couple of more wins, and maybe a first ever Conference USA title behind ace pitcher Toni Paisley.

“The only guarantee for postseason is that the tournament champion gets a bid,” added Kee. “Our league could get a couple, but we’ll feel better if we can bring home that trophy this weekend.”

East Carolina opens the event playing 7th seed and host Texas-El Paso on Thursday night.


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05/05/2009 02:19:04 AM


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