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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Pirates find three formulas for winning


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Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, with Brian and guest East Carolina baseball coach Billy GodwinBilly Godwin. 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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By Brian Bailey
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The baseball season at East Carolina is off to a great start with the Pirates sweeping the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee over the weekend in a three-game series.

ECU won the opener 4-0 on Friday, and then swept a double header on Saturday by scores of 16-1 and 6-3.

Each of the trio of contests had a personality of its own. Kevin Brandt was the story on Friday with his 6 2/3 shutout innings. The offense came to life in game two, while game three featured a Pirate comeback in the late innings.

“They were three distinct types of games,” said Pirate coach Billy Godwin. “We try to practice those kinds of situations but it’s even better to play in them.

"It was solid. It was a very good start for our guys. I was very pleased with the effort and focus that we showed.”

Brandt brings back the bulk of the returning innings on this squad from a year ago. The lefthander got off to a great start for his senior campaign. Godwin remembers when Brandt was a young, unproven pitcher.

“He was thrown right into the fire his freshman year,” Godwin said. “Oklahoma State was nationally ranked and had six left handed hitters. We got down early and needed someone to at least slow them down. I told (then pitching coach Bill) Jarman to get Brandt in there. He went out and shut them down. We came back and won the game and Brandt’s been doing great things ever since.”

The weekend got off on a positive note on the first pitch in the bottom of the first inning.
Jack Reinheimer, in his first game in the leadoff spot in his career, turned on a fastball and hit a home run.

“I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit,” said Reinheimer after Friday’s win. “The guys were pretty excited and it got us off to a good start.”

Godwin said the decision to put Reinheimer in the leadoff spot came late.

“Jack has done a great job of being patient at the plate,” said Godwin. “He drew more walks then he struck out in the preseason. With Jack’s speed, we’ve got Phillip Clark in the two hole, which protects Jack so the catcher doesn’t have a free peek. I’ve had a lot of success in the past with that righty-lefty at the top of the lineup.”

On Saturday, the Pirates beat up the Panthers in the first game of the twinbill, winning 16-1. Junior college transfer Jharel Cotton made his debut on the mound, giving up just one run in six innings. Chase McDonald, Ben Fultz and Jay Cannon all homered for ECU in the rout.

The third game of the series was moved up from Sunday to be a part of Saturday's doubleheader with the miserable weather headed to eastern North Carolina.

The Pirates came from behind with a four-run seventh inning to take the sweep in the series, 6-3. Lefty Tyler Joyner picked up the win in relief, striking out four and giving up just one hit in 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

Next up for the Pirates is a midweek game at Old Dominion. Then Purdue, Western Carolina and Maryland all come to town for the Keith LeClair Classic. [View ECU's 2012 baseball schedule in a new window.]

“That’s always a special weekend,” said Godwin. “We always try and bring back ties to Coach LeClair for this tournament. Coach (LeClair) played at Western Carolina and one of his former players here at ECU, Erik Bakich, is the coach at Maryland.”

It’s great baseball, and it’s also the chance to hold onto the memory of one of the all-time greats at East Carolina, Coach Keith LeClair. [View the archives of Keith LeClair's 2003-04 Bonesville column in a new window.]

“It’s kind of our way to step back and remember what all Coach LeClair brought to East Carolina,” said Godwin. “I have the utmost amount of respect for Coach. We just want to remember him in this way and thank him for all that he did for the program at East Carolina University.”

Hopefully the weather will hold out. Regardless of what the calendar reads, it’s already spring at ECU with the baseball Pirates off to a promising start!


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02/21/2012 03:07 AM


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