The most anticipated season in East Carolina’s storied baseball history is quickly spiraling out of control. What the Pirates had hoped to be a dream season is turning into a nightmare.
It’s only April and there is still time. Still, the time to turn things around is now.
This team that was hoping to make it to Omaha is setting records, and not in a good way. The Pirates were swept this weekend for the third time this season, and it’s barely April.
For the first time in the program’s history, ECU has been swept at home twice in the same year.
Connecticut came to town and took all three games over the weekend to open play in the American Athletic Conference. The first two games could have gone either way in 3-2 Pirate losses.
Game three of the set was a five-error embarrassment. These were errors that good teams don’t make. The Huskies took advantage of the miscues for a 5-1 victory.
“The first two games we didn’t play terrible, but today we played terrible,” lamented ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “Obviously the five errors were very disappointing. But if you’re going to point a finger at someone, point it at me. It’s my job to have these guys ready to play. It’s gut check time for us.”
It’s ‘gut check time’ at a critical spot in the schedule. The Pirates have the return game with North Carolina on Tuesday and then head to Houston for a three-game series.
These are the games that help you build your NCAA resume. For a team that had hoped to host in the regionals, ECU is off to an 0-3 start in the AAC. Just making the NCAA field may have to be the goal now.
“It is very disappointing to be swept any time, but we have to look at ourselves in the mirror,” said Godwin after UConn finished the sweep. “All of us, players, coaches and support staff have to figure out a way to get better because today was not a good day for the Pirates.”
Godwin was asked after the Sunday loss about how he and the coaching staff would stay positive with the team.
“I’m not worried about staying positive,” said Godwin. “It’s time to look at yourself in the mirror and get better. This is a big boy sport and it’s a big boy East Carolina baseball program. You have to make plays. You have to make pitches. You have to have at bats to put together.
“If you feel sorry for yourself then I guarantee it’s going to show up.”
The ECU players are equally as frustrated.
“It’s really embarrassing,” said senior Charlie Yorgen. “We put all the time in and to not execute is really frustrating. Our teams the last two years were tough. We played as a team. It seems that that’s lacking right now. We have to get better and come together as a team.”
An ‘Exceptional’ turn of events
On a positive note the Pirate players and coaches stuck around on Sunday to host their annual game with the Exceptional Community Baseball League.
The game was played earlier in the season than usual because of scheduling issues for ECU on Sundays in May.
“We always enjoy this day,” said ECU senior Eric Tyler. “It puts it all in perspective. Coming off a sweep like that and then seeing how much the ECBL players appreciate our time was special.”
Perhaps the Pirate players needed the time with the special needs children and adults as much as the ECBL players did.
Also on a positive, the baseball program raised over $6,000 with their “Mustache March” fundraiser.
The squad had a special “shaving” ceremony on Monday afternoon to celebrate that accomplishment.
Here’s hoping the clean shaves will help the Pirates start a new streak on the positive side, starting with tonight’s game at North Carolina.
VIEW BRIAN BAILEY’S ‘EXCEPTIONAL’ PHOTO GALLERY
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