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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Monday, May 15, 2006

By Henry Hinton

Pirates surging when it counts


7:00-9:00 a.m.

Tune in on the radio or catch the live Internet feed of today's Talk of the Town with Henry Hinton:


One week ago the East Carolina Pirates looked like they had been left alongside the road for dead in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

An impressive week since then, including a three-game sweep of UAB, has breathed new life into the Pirates’ hopes of making the NCAA regionals.

After finding themselves on the bottom end another sweep at Southern Miss last week, even former ECU Coach Gary Overton admitted the Pirates were “on the back side of the bubble.”

Starting the week with just 28 wins, most close observers were speculating that the team would have to win either seven of eight or ALL eight of its remaining games to extend its seven-year streak of NCAA appearances.

The magic number year in and year out for teams to get into the postseason tournament has been 35 wins.

Four games later the task does not look quite as daunting, but there is still work to do. After a 10-3 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, the Pirates went to work in their final home series of the season, defeating the Blazers Friday 11-6, Saturday 13-1 and Sunday 12-2.

Winning four in a row has put a bounce in their steps and now the Pirates are focused on the Tuesday night game at Coastal and final road conference series next weekend at Memphis.

The Sunday victory was especially sweet for the Pirates. The game was called after seven innings due to the league’s Sunday ten-run rule.

“We’ve had some games and series where we didn’t maintain the intensity on Sunday, but that didn’t happen today”, Godwin said after the game. “They came out and played with energy and put them away.”

On Friday morning, Godwin, appearing on Talk 1070, agreed with Overton’s assessment of East Carolina's situation with regard to making the NCAA regionals. [Replay the Windows Media archive of Friday's Talk of the Town, including the interview with Godwin.]

“I think one of the things the committee looks at, from talking to other people, is a strong finish," Godwin said. "We would probably be equally concerned if we were at 35 or 36 wins and didn’t finish strong.”

“A strong finish and a good showing in the Conference USA tournament is what we need,” Godwin added. “I feel good about it. Our guys are focused. After the win over Coastal, I heard one of the kids say one down and seven to go. I haven’t really even talked about that. I’ve just talked about winning one at a time."

Now ECU enters the last week of the regular season with a 32-20 record. As for getting the strong finish, Godwin should be pleased that his Pirates outscored UAB 36-9 and out-hit the Blazers 43-16.

Now it is on to the final mid-week game at Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night and the three-game set against Memphis at Auto Zone Park. By the way, that series will begin on Thursday this week instead of Friday.

The Conference USA tournament will begin on Wednesday, May 24, in Houston.

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This page updated 04/21/08 07:02 PM.

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