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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 22, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Defense emerges as a plus for Pirates

Billy Godwin
Chase McDonald
(ECU SID images)


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guest BILLY GODWIN discussing ECU baseball. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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Defense emerges as a plus for Pirates
Weekly Baseball Polls
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East Carolina 10, Youngstown State 0
East Carolina 1, Youngstown State 0
Flowers, Golden Eagles overpower Pirates
East Carolina 11, Youngstown State 3
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Fifty years later, Bucs still have big goals

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

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 box score].

Then, in game three, East Carolina took advantage of a little “small ball” in building a lead, rolling to a 10-0 victory [view box score].

“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 the weekend.”

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 State 8-2.

“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 Stadium.


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03/01/2011 02:51 AM


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