Pirates hijack league crown
From staff and
ECU SID reports
All rights rights reserved.
The race for Conference
USA's regular season baseball title took a climactic turn on Saturday as
East Carolina completed a sweep of Memphis while frontrunner Rice was
being upset by UAB.
13-2 rout of the Tigers — in a game that concluded in the 7th
inning because of the "10-run rule" — landed ECU
in first place when the Blazers stunned the Owls later in the afternoon
As the top seed, East
Carolina will face eighth-seeded Central Florida in the third game of
the conference championship tournament on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Pete
Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, MS. Rice will make its tourney debut at 1:30
p.m. that day, facing No. 7 seed Marshall.
Other first day pairings
will pit No. 3 seed Houston against sixth-seeded UAB at 10:00 a.m. and
fourth-seeded Tulane against tournament host and No. 5 seed Southern
Mississippi at 8:30 p.m.
East Carolina and
Rice went into the regular season's final day tied for first place, but the Owls
owned the tiebreaker and were perceived to
be in the driver's seat for the top seed. Rice won two of three from the Pirates in
the regular season.
An expected Rice victory over UAB or
a Memphis win over the Pirates would have clinched the title outright
for the Owls. Instead, the opposite outcome occurred in both games and
East Carolina earned sole claim to the championship.
The regular season title
is the Pirates' first
Next Sunday's championship
game will be televised on a same-day, tape-delayed basis by CBS College
Sports at 7:30 p.m. The tournament champion receives an automatic bid to
the NCAA Championship, though both East Carolina and Rice are virtually
assured invitations because of their strong seasons.
The Pirates, ranked as
high as No. 20 in
the national polls before
reeling off four victories in a row this week, can significantly enhance
their chances of hosting one of the NCAA's 16 regionals by winning the
View Conference USA Baseball Championship Brackets
05/18/09 02:21 AM.
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