Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
ECU still in the mix in tough league race
A "Series to Remember"
I said beforehand that
last weekend's series with Houston would have all the feel of a regional or
even a super regional.
East Carolina was
playing one of the nation’s top teams, and it was playing them at home. Most
importantly, though, ECU was beating them.
came to town with the swagger of a great team. The Pirates started slowly,
really struggling against Cougar ace Brad Sullivan.
Sullivan did not
disappoint, as he was as good as advertised.
ECU's game plan in the
opener was to hang around with Sullivan on the mound, and try to get to the
Cougar bullpen. The strategy worked to perfection.
Credit Sam Narron for
keeping the Pirates close in the game. Without Narron’s performance, the
Pirates would not have had a chance to come back and pick up the win.
Darryl Lawhorn and senior Clayton McCullough were the stars at the plate in
the first game. McCullough’s two run double in the sixth tied the game, and
then Lawhorn lined one into right centerfield for the game-winning hit.
That first game win
really took the wind out of Houston's sails for game two. The Cougars didn’t
play like the fifth best team in the country, committing six errors.
Davey Penny got the
job done on the mound and gave his team a great chance at a sweep on Sunday.
won the third game in the series on Sunday, 7-3. The Cougar’s bullpen held
ECU to just one hit over the last 5 and 2/3 innings.
It will go down as a
“series to remember” for several reasons.
First, the two wins
put East Carolina right back into the Conference USA race. This is a tough
league. One bad weekend can hurt you, like the one the Pirates experienced
against Texas Christian, but it shouldn’t bury you.
By taking two out of
three from Houston, the Pirates moved to within a couple of games of
Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are 9-3, while Houston,
Louisville and TCU are all 8-4.
Then, it’s South Florida at 7-5 and ECU at 6-5-1.
East Carolina vaulted
back into the national rankings in all three major polls after the
successful weekend. The Pirates highest ranking was 20th.
Also, credit the the
respect the East Carolina program gets on the diamond for Houston not
falling very far in the polls.
The Cougars fell just
a couple of places in all three rankings because voters knew that playing at
East Carolina was a tough assignment for any team.
The Pirates had
another great effort Tuesday night, falling at Elon 3-1. Elon has an
excellent program, and has a couple of wins over Miami this season. Last
week, the Pirates shut out Elon at Harrington Field.
It is midweek
competition like Elon that makes a team better when the weekend rolls
Tonight, the Pirates
will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak when they host Duke.
Another big crowd is expected, especially with the visitor being an ACC
Former Pirate Gridiron Stars
Several ECU football
greats with pro football pedigrees will be on hand this week as Ironwood and
the Pitt County Pirate Club host their 12th annual golf
George Koonce, Earnest
Byner, Vinson Smith and Steve Hamilton will all be back on campus.
While I have met both
Byner and Hamilton, I had the chance to cover Koonce and Smith when they
played for East Carolina.
Both Koonce and Smith
were as nice off the field as they were mean on the field. These guys
wouldn’t hurt a flea, unless the flea wore the colors of the Pirates'
These two are the type
of young men that you hope your son grows up to be like. They were always
polite, friendly and eager to please Pirate fans and the media.
were both also eager to put a hurting on the opposition. They may very well
be two of the best to ever play on defense at East Carolina.
Obviously, Byner and
Hamilton were also great players, and I wish that I had been around for
their careers as well.
Send an e-mail message to
Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville
02/23/2007 01:21:44 AM