TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
February 22, 2010
Defense emerges as a
plus for Pirates
(ECU SID images)
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East Carolina showed off a
whole new look in sweeping Youngstown State this past weekend to open
the baseball season.
The three games were very
different in style, but each resulted in a victory.
In the opener, ECU starter
Seth Maness gave up a home run on the game’s second pitch. It would be
the only earned run given up by a Pirate starter all weekend.
The Pirates came back to
win the game 11-3 [view
box score] before over 4,000 fans for opening day.
Game two was exhibit A on
how the new bats might come into play this season. The Pirates and
Penguins were scoreless into the ninth, before Tim Younger’s base hit to
right field gave the Pirates a 1-0 victory [view
Then, in game three, East
Carolina took advantage of a little “small ball” in building a lead,
rolling to a 10-0 victory [view
“As tough as this game is,
it’s certainly great to come out and get a sweep this weekend,” said
Pirate coach Billy Godwin. “We’ve got a lot of things that we need to
attack as a team but it’s early and we did some pretty good things over
One of the major
improvements for this ECU squad is on defense.
I got a glimpse of that at
Thursday’s last practice before the opener. The Pirates turned a smooth
6-4-3 double play. I had a smile on my face when Coach Godwin walked
over to where I was standing.
“I know what you’re
thinking,” he smiled as talked. “We’re much better defensively.”
I would say much better!
East Carolina fans got a
glimpse of that all weekend. Third baseman Drew Reynolds climbed the
ladder at third on one play. Shortstop Jack Reinheimer dove for a little
flair that saved a run.
Even pitcher Mike Wright
got into the defensive mode, diving for a popped up bunt attempt and
turning the effort into a double play.
“We have a chance to be
special defensively,” said Godwin. “Our guys fly around. If we can pitch
and play defense then you’re in every game. That’s baseball.”
The Pirates hit just one
home run for the weekend. That came off the bat of former J.H. Rose star
Chase McDonald in Sunday’s 10-0 Pirate victory.
“Usually in a situation
like that with a seven-run lead and a man on second, we’re looking to
get something to hit the other way,” explained Godwin. “I said this is
not that situation. I told him to hit it on Charles (Boulevard). He
didn’t hit it on Charles but he came close. He drilled it.”
McDonald hit .300 for the
weekend with a slugging percentage of .700. He scored three runs and
drove in four others.
“It felt good to go ahead
and get it out of the way,” said McDonald when asked about hitting his
first home run as a Pirate. “I hope (there will) be many more of them.”
The Pirates are off this
week before traveling to nationally-ranked Virginia for a three-game
series beginning on Friday.
The Cavaliers, No. 10 in
the NCBWA poll, got off to a 3-0 start this past weekend as well,
sweeping through the Auburn tournament. The Cavs beat UAB 6-4 in their
opener, then followed by rolling past Auburn 13-2 and defeating Arkansas
“It will be a tremendous
challenge,” said Godwin. “That’s what our schedule is all about and
we’re looking forward to it.”
ECU has had great success
when starting the season with a trio of victories. Since 2001, the
Pirates have started 3-0 five times and in each of those years they
reached the NCAA Regionals.
In three of those seasons,
(2001, 2004 and 2009) East Carolina made Super Regional appearances.
This weekend should
provide a regional-type atmosphere, as was the case with last year’s
season-opening series between East Carolina and Virginia at Clark-LeClair
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