The one factor that East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin worried about in the preseason was injuries to his team.
Injuries are not an excuse, and Godwin would never lean that way in trying to explain his team’s play this spring.
Still, injuries are the great equalizer.
Godwin’s team is deeper than it was a year ago. But basically this squad has lost the services of two All-Americans for the majority of the year.
Evan Kruczynski went down early in the season on a freak play.
Dwanya Williams-Sutton injured his thumb in the team’s fourth game. Williams-Sutton came back after missing almost 20 games, but tweaked the injury and has been out ever since.
Bryce Harmon started his year on the bench with an injury.
Chris Holba, the pitcher replacing Kruz as the Friday starter, was hit by a line drive early in Friday’s game and spent most of his time in Houston in the hospital.
Again, the injuries aren’t an excuse. They just provide a glimpse at what this program is dealing with.
“Injuries are part of the game that you have to overcome,” said Godwin earlier this season.
That is much easier said than done.
The Pirates were totally outplayed by 14th-ranked Houston this past weekend. The club was swept for the fourth time this season. The Cougars outscored ECU 34-10 in the three game series.
ECU heads into tonight’s non-conference matchup with UNC-Wilmington riding a seven-game losing streak. That’s the longest such streak in 19 years.
The Seahawks have struggled as well, but would like nothing more than to add to the Pirates’ woes tonight.
To turn things around, several things have to happen beginning tonight.
Pitchers have to make pitches. The walks and free passes have to be decreased to near nothing.
Hitters have to win pitches. The cliché is true, especially when you are trying to turn things around.
Hitters also have to come through with two outs. Great teams score runs with two outs. Winning teams score runs with two outs. This Pirate baseball team did just that early in the season.
There is still a lot of baseball to be played.
The Pirates have dug themselves into a hole that will be very difficult to get out of. Some are ready to throw dirt on the body.
Baseball, though is a funny sport. East Carolina still has time to right the wrongs, but it may take a run in May at the American Athletic Conference tournament to really make the turnaround.
It starts with the next pitch.