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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

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From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, April 3, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


Houston series a league litmus test for Pirates


East Carolina’s Diamond Pirates won their sixth straight game on Tuesday night, shutting out Elon, and now look forward to what should be a very special weekend of baseball.

First, though, it’s tonight's return game against Campbell. The Camels gave East Carolina a fit last week in a game that ECU used to gain a bit of confidence after that three-game sweep by Texas Christian.

Then, it’s fifth-ranked Houston and East Carolina in a big Conference USA showdown at Harrington Field.

This is the series that will be quite telling as to whether the Pirates truly are contenders. The Cougars stand atop the Conference USA standings at 7-2.

Houston is led by Jesse Crain. Crain is this week’s top pitcher in the league and is currently on a run of 22 1/3 innings without giving up an earned run. Crain picked up a key win this past weekend over Southern Miss.

Earlier this year, Crain was honored as the C-USA hitter of the week. He is one of the top players that we will see this year at Harrington Field.

“Crain is an outstanding player,” said Pirate assistant coach Kevin McMullen. “This is an outstanding team and this should be a great baseball series in Greenville. We are looking forward to playing in front of a great crowd and we hope that the home field will make a difference.”

It should be a great atmosphere for baseball, perhaps the best the Pirates have seen since last season's NCAA appearances in both Wilson and Kinston.

Terps take title in tourney marked by unlikely outcomes

So how many of you had Indiana and Maryland playing for the national championship in your pool?

How many of you had these two in your Final Four? How about your Final 32?

That’s the magic of the NCAA tournament. That’s why CBS paid all of those millions of dollars to televise the games. 

That’s why dreams do come true.

Sure, Maryland had the top story, winning the national championship. UNC Wilmington had a great story, too, upsetting Southern Cal. The Seahawks were beaten by Indiana in the second round.

The Hoosiers had an even bigger story play out. This team played the part of the movie by the same name this March. Indiana was the biggest of underdogs against the likes of Duke, Oklahoma and Maryland.

Fear the turtle, because Maryland ended the great run.

Maybe East Carolina will be making a story of its own in an upcoming NCAA tournament. The move to C-USA will continue to pay dividends.

I’ve written many times about just how the conference will help Pirate basketball.

This wasn’t a banner tournament for the league. But Conference USA will get better, and continue to lead on a national level.

East Carolina will be a part of that rise, with dreams of making its own story in the NCAA tournament.

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02/23/2007 01:21:43 AM

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