This was supposed to be a column about a big bounce back win for East Carolina on the diamond.
Unfortunately, that column will have to wait for another day.
The Pirates hosted Air Force for a rare Monday game and fell to the Falcons, 3-2. Air Force was coming off a series win over Navy in the Freedom Classic at Grainger Stadium in Kinston.
East Carolina went into the contest with the Falcons after a disappointing 8-5 Sunday loss to Monmouth in the series finale with the Hawks. The Pirates still won that series after sweeping a weather-plagued doubleheader on Saturday.
Pirate coach Cliff Godwin was especially critical of his team on Sunday, saying that his team has to learn to not let off the gas. The Pirates built an early 5-1 lead in the game, but gave up five runs in the 7th inning and then two more in the 9th.
Monday’s game was much different in nature.
“I thought our guys were ready to play,” said Godwin. “Today, Air Force was better than us. They were one run better, they played a little bit better, their pitchers kept us off balance, so hat’s off to them. I can live with a loss like this, because that’s baseball. Look, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. No, we haven’t played well the past two days, but we’ll get better.”
They’ll have to if they want to be the team that’s ranked nationally in the polls.
Despite last week’s 2-2 week, the pollsters were kind to ECU. The Pirates are still ranked as high as 9th in the nation (Perfect Game). ECU is also ranked 11th by Baseball America and 14th by D1baseball.com.
Godwin is one not to mince words. His message to his team was a simple one.
“I told them we played a good game today, we just got beat,” he said. “We will take tomorrow off and get ready to play on Wednesday.”
The Pirates will host Elon on Wednesday.
It was great to see Bryant Packard back in the lineup. Packard was 0-3 and was walked intentionally in his first game back since last weekend.
“Today’s the first day I’ve picked up at bat since I’ve had the injury,” Packard said. “It felt good, our trainer Zac Womack did a great job with treatment twice a day, got something big wrapped on my bat, it’s squishy so I can hold the bat. I felt good today.”
Things certainly don’t get any easier for ECU. Next up is Wednesday’s matchup with the 5-1 Phoenix and then it’s the Keith LeClair Classic this weekend.
The baseball season is a long one. The Pirates just hope these early season losses don’t come back to haunt them later on.