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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Pirates finding unexpected ways to win


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Pirates finding unexpected ways to win
ECU still in opportune position
Pirates survive marathon, grab sweep
Joyner fires four-hitter, Pirates roll
Pirates storm back, douse Blazers
Pirates developing on multiple levels
Wolfpack prevails in 11 innings
Ladies battle-hardened by early gauntlet
League race a free for all after week one
Respectable 'D' now seeking greatness

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

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If you had started the weekend knowing that both Kevin Brandt and Jharel Cotton would struggle in their outings, you probably would have written off any thoughts of an East Carolina sweep of its series with Conference USA foe UAB.

Brandt started Friday’s game and lasted just three innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits. It was his shortest stint of the young season.

Cotton started game three on Sunday and didn’t make it out of the third inning after giving up three runs and six hits.

In between, Tyler Joyner went the distance on Saturday in an East Carolina blowout.

Still, somehow the Pirates won all three games in the series and stand just a game out of first place in the league behind 5-1 Central Florida.

The Pirates trailed 5-0 in the first game of the series on Friday night. East Carolina strung together nine unanswered runs in the final three innings for the easy 11-6 win.

Game three was even more of a struggle. The Blazers battered ECU's pitching for most of the early stages of the game. The bullpen, though, flexed a little muscle and shut down UAB in the latter innings.

East Carolina rallied with three runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Struggling slugger Chase McDonald came through with a two-out, two-run pinch hit single to tie the game at 5.

The Pirates executed a perfect hit and run in the 13th and then plated the game winner on a Ben Fultz sacrifice fly. Earlier, in the ninth, Fultz had doubled to start what turned out to be the game-tying rallying that forced extra innings.

The celebration completed a most unlikely East Carolina sweep.

“I’ve been around this team long enough to know that we’re never out of it until the last strike,” said Coach Billy Godwin. “Fultz had a big at bat with that double off the wall and it just sort of snowballed from there.”

The Pirates hit the road to play UNC-Wilmington on Tuesday night and then return home to host Houston in a three-game series on Thursday night. This week’s series runs Thursday through Saturday because of the Easter holiday.

Spencer Hampton benefit a huge success

Friends and family of former East Carolina football player Spencer Hampton raised over $50,000 dollars to help with his medical bills at a benefit in Greenville on Sunday night.

Spencer was recently diagnosed with stage IV melanoma, a very aggressive form of cancer.

Hampton is a former star at D.H. Conley High School and he walked on at East Carolina for then coach Skip Holtz.
Holtz and former ECU assistant coach Rick Smith, Hampton’s position coach, both sent words of encouragement through a video that was shown at the benefit. That video also included words from Hampton’s best friend, former UNC-Chapel Hill star pitcher and fellow Conley graduate Alex White, who now pitches for the Colorado Rockies.

Spencer Hampton
(ECU SID image)

Hampton’s biggest play as a Pirate was an interception at the end of the Pirates' win over UTEP that clinched East Carolina’s first trip to the Conference USA championship game.

Spencer will marry his high school sweetheart, Lindsay Styons, in a couple of weeks. Lindsay’s father, Raymie, is a well-known ACC basketball referee who played baseball at East Carolina.

TieBreakers hosted the event on Sunday night, which included all kinds of sports and ECU Pirates memorabilia.

Spencer has long sported a tattoo that reads “Against All Odds.” He faced long odds on the gridiron, just making the Pirate football team.

Now he faces an even tougher battle. There is a Facebook page set up for “Prayers for Spencer.” The support for Spencer and his family has been nothing short of spectacular.

The family does ask that the prayers keep coming. The Pirate Nation is certainly behind Spencer as he battles his cancer, against all odds.


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04/03/2012 03:42 AM


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