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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


Southern Miss, DePaul Pulling for Pirates to Lose


Tourney Bound, Almost…

East Carolina took a huge step towards a trip to Cincinnati and the Conference USA tournament this weekend, beating Houston at Williams Arena.

As I have written before, this will be the only year that the goal for this team is a 12th place finish in the league. You have to take small steps before you take big ones.

There were those who didn’t expect East Carolina to win a game in Conference USA. The Pirates, though, have wins over Louisville, Southern Miss, St. Louis and Houston on the Williams Arena floor. That’s a 4-3 record at home in the team’s first year at this level.

The Pirate win over Houston puts this team in the driver’ seat for a slot in the Conference USA tournament. East Carolina hosts Marquette on Tuesday night, and then closes out the season at Texas Christian this weekend.

The Pirates have a two game lead over DePaul for the 12th spot. The Blue Demons host Saint Louis and Marquette to finish the season. The Demons will be big underdogs in the Marquette game.

Southern Miss also needs to win a pair, and must count on the Pirates losing two games. The Golden Eagles travel to UAB and then finish their season with a home game against South Florida.

Bill Herrion warns, though, that this team is not tournament bound just yet.

“Were not in the conference tournament yet, so we just want to keep on winning,” Herrion said after Saturday’s win over Houston. “I think we took a step closer tonight to going to Cincinnati in March, which I think is going to be a great, great accomplishment for these kids.”

TCU is just 4-10 in the league, and the trip to Cincinnati could come down to that final game between East Carolina and the Horned Frogs.

The fact that the Pirates are in the mix for a berth is somewhat of a a turnabout. After all, Herrion didn’t know if his team could compete in Conference USA before the season started.

Now he knows!

It is a most challenging assignment, but Coach Herrion continues to show that he is the man to get the job done.

Harrington and 'Jungle' Kind to Pirates

East Carolina’s three game sweep over New York Tech, plus the Pirate’s rally over Virginia Commonwealth, moved the team up in the national rankings in basketball.

The Pirates were  23rd this week in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. ECU was also 26th in the Collegiate Baseball Poll

This past weekend featured a couple of record-setting performances.

First, on Friday afternoon, Clayton McCullough became the first player in school history to go 5-5 with five extra base hits.

The Pirate senior catcher hit two home runs and three doubles in five plate appearances. One of the home runs was a grand slam. In all, McCullough had six RBI on his biggest day ever at the plate.

Then, on Saturday, freshman first baseman Darryl Lawhorn tied a school record with seven RBI. Lawhorn had a two-run double in the second inning, a three run blast in the fourth inning, and a two run single in the sixth.

The Pirates have won 15 straight games at Harrington Field, and 41 of their last 44 at home.

Can somebody please say, “Save the Jungle!”

Maybe somebody already has. Pirate Assistant Coach Kevin McMullan was my guest on my radio show on Monday night. Coach McMullan says the administration has talked about ways to keep the rowdy Pirate faithful going behind the outfield fence.

“I don’t know all of the specifics, but I think the administration is looking at it,” said Coach McMullan. “I know that all of the coaches that have come through this year were very complimentary of the fan support that we have at East Carolina.”

The crowds continue to be impressive for baseball. And you have to think that the warmer it gets outside, the bigger the crowds will become.

A very good Central Florida program comes to town this weekend for a three-game set.

The Golden Knights will face a Pirate team with some gaudy stats this weekend. East Carolina has outscored the opposition 67-25 in the sevens wins to date. The Pirates are hitting a robust .369.

The pitching staff is doing its part as well. The Pirate staff has a 2.81 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just 13 walks.

So, it's another weekend of opportunities at home for this ranked Pirate team before it ventures on the road for the first time next week at VCU.

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02/23/2007 01:22:12 AM

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