These are unprecedented bad times for East Carolina baseball.
This is a baseball season that absolutely no one saw coming.
Add in injuries, bad luck, poor play at times, it still wouldn’t add up to the season this ECU baseball team is suffering through as we head to the latter part of April.
It wasn’t so long ago that the team was the talk of the preseason. Coming off a year that the squad was “90 feet from Omaha,” the Pirates were just about every college baseball expert’s pick to finally break through.
I keep saying there is still time. This team could certainly still turn things around, but it may take a run in the American Baseball Tournament to extend the season.
It’s really hard to put a finger on.
Take Charlie Yorgen’s error in the second game of the Central Florida series, which allowed the two go ahead runs to score late. Yorgen makes that play in his sleep. He is an outstanding player. But somehow he couldn’t come up with the inning ending catch. Instead of two runs and a tie game, the Knights would go on and score nine in the frame and walk away with an easy victory and the series win.
UCF then shut out the Pirates on Saturday to sweep the series.
Unbelievably, it’s the fifth time this season ECU has been swept. Most of us would have thought the Pirates could have lost five games by now, but certainly not the 15 in the series sweeps.
That just doesn’t happen to ECU baseball.
Now, Cliff Godwin faces his biggest challenge as head coach.
True fans may be upset at times, but true fans stay with their team through thick and thin.
It certainly doesn’t help that this sports year for ECU has pretty much been a nightmare. Many looked at Pirate baseball as being the saving grace.
I think deep down we all knew it would take a pretty special effort to finally get over the hump and make it to Omaha. It was certainly on the table, but it is a most difficult assignment.
It also goes to show just what preseason polls really mean. The Pirates were the preseason pick in the American Athletic Conference. They will have to win a bunch of games just to finish in the middle of the pack after starting 0-9 in league play.
Godwin says the third game of the UCF series, a 7-0 loss, was the first time he thought guys were feeling sorry for themselves.
He says that’s a huge concern, because there is nowhere in this sport for a team to have those kinds of feelings.
Handling failure is the biggest key to the success of a baseball player. Guys fail seven out of ten times at the plate and make all-star teams hitting .300.
How these Pirates handle the failures of this season to date may be the legacy these seniors leave behind.
Hopefully that legacy will be that this team came so close to Omaha one season, got off to a horrible start in the next year, and then battled back to make some noise in the postseason for a second straight year.
This is a better, deeper team than the one from a year ago.
Injuries have tested that depth and at times has shown some of its vulnerability.
Still, this is a much better team than 0-9 in American play indicates.
Godwin won’t sleep well until the turnaround is well underway.
A win tonight in Wilmington for a season sweep of UNCW would be a positive start.
Seeing Evan Kruczynski pitch on Saturday brings hopes. Dwanya Williams-Sutton hopes to be back next week.
Baseball is a mind game. Right now the Pirates are losing that game as well.