CAROLINA & CONFERENCE USA
View from the East
Sunday, June 3, 2012
By Al Myatt
ECU loss spelled w-a-l-k-s
Turning point: Five
free passes in 7th influenced outcome
ECU coach Billy Godwin
and select players spoke with the media after the Pirates'
Sunday loss to North Carolina (recorded by Brian Bailey):
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CHAPEL HILL — East
Carolina outhit North Carolina 10-5 on Sunday afternoon and the Pirates
played errorless defense at Boshamer Stadium but the Tar Heels still
managed to deal ECU a 5-3 season-ending loss.
North Carolina took
advantage of eight walks to stay alive in an elimination game of the
Chapel Hill regional in the NCAA baseball tournament.
Five of the free passes
were issued by Pirate pitchers in a three-run seventh inning that
produced the margin of victory for the Heels.
"I thought our kids
competed well today," said ECU coach Billy Godwin. "It was a game of
freebies. We talked about that. When you play good clubs, you can't get
away with eight walks.
"If you tell me before the
game we're going to come in here and get 10 hits and they're going to
have five and we're not going to make any errors, you're going to like
your chances. It just didn't happen.
"When you look at it from
the flip side, they walked no one. Walks are like hits in this game. You
put people on and they took advantage of it."
Pirates starter Jharel
Cotton allowed two runs in five and one-third innings. Cotton began
faltering in the fifth when he hit a batter and walked a pair after
retiring the first two. With the bases-loaded, disaster was avoided as
ECU right fielder John Wooten made a catch at the fence on a deep fly by
Colin Moran to end the inning.
Cotton's day was done
after he walked Cody Stubbs with one out in the sixth and threw a ball
to Shell McCain, the next hitter.
Andy Smithmyer came to the
mound and struck out McCain before Brian Holberton delivered an RBI
single for a 2-0 lead. Singles by Tommy Coyle and Jacob Stallings in the
fourth preceded a sacrifice fly by Stubbs for the game's first run.
singles by Mike Ussery, Tim Younger and Drew Reynolds chopped the lead
in half in the bottom of the sixth. Reynolds, the designated hitter, was
thrown out at second as he tried to take an extra base on the throw to
the plate as Ussery came home.
The versatile Reynolds
relieved Smithmyer after three straight one-out walks in the seventh.
Stallings lifted a sacrifice fly to left before Stubbs walked.
North Carolina coach Mike
Fox selected Mike Zolk to go to the plate for McCain, who was 0-for-3,
and the move paid off with a two-run single to center field for a 5-1
Tar Heels lead.
Reynolds settled down to
retire the last eight batters he faced.
Chase McDonald and Jack
Reinheimer had hits in the eighth for ECU before Younger's third hit in
his last college game cut the margin to 5-2.
ECU's last run came on a
homer to left by Wooten in the ninth.
Eight walks, including
five in the Tar Heels' decisive three-run seventh inning, were too much
"You can get away with it
sometimes but you don't do it against a good club at home," Godwin said
of the Pirate staff's inability to locate the strike zone. "It's very
ECU, seeded second in the
regional, finished the season 36-24-1.
Third-seeded St. John's
(40-21) captured the double-elimination event with a 9-5 victory over
top-seeded North Carolina (46-16) on Sunday night.