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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


McMullan: 'Next game' takes priority over '40 wins'


No rush on Narron's arm

East Carolina will play four games in four days this week, with hopes of gaining some momentum going into the Conference USA tournament.

The Pirates have struggled of late, falling out of the national rankings this past week. Ironically, East Carolina, which was ranked for most of the season, probably won’t be ranked next week for the tournament.

Houston is planted in or on the fringes of the Top 10 in all three polls, and both Louisville and Southern Miss made this week's Collegiate Baseball Newspaper rankings.

Of course, a Wednesday night win over UNC-Wilmington and then a three-game sweep over Louisville could vault the Pirates back into the rankings. Four straight wins would also give the Pirates “40 wins” for the regular season, which is usually a benchmark for NCAA tournament at-large selections.

ECU assistant coach Kevin McMullan, who doesn't necessarily bank on the "40 wins" theory as a guaranteed ticket to the regionals, is concentrating on the Seahawks.

“Our focus has always been on the next game,” he said.  “Forty wins would be great, but I’m not sure that forty wins definitely gets you in.”

Quality wins also figure into the equation, but “40” is a nice number if you are a college baseball team.

Four games in four days will be a challenge for this baseball team, especially with Sam Narron struggling with arm problems. For Narron, the goal is to get ready for Kinston and the Conference USA tournament.

“He’s basically day to day right now,” said McMullan. “But we will be safe and smart in deciding if Sam is ready to pitch. We want him ready for tournament time in Kinston.”

It’s a great couple of weeks ahead if you are a Pirate baseball fan. The trip to Wilmington is only two hours from Greenville. Then the Pirates are back at home for a three-game series with Louisville.

Next week, it’s the C-USA tournament at historic Grainger Stadium. There are certainly no excuses for not seeing this team play in person.

And there is still plenty of time for ECU to build that baseball resume for the upcoming NCAA regionals.

'Camp Overton' offered advantages

This week, the Pirates have four games in four days, and then just a couple of days to get ready for the tournament.

For years, ECU was able to schedule some down time before playing in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Former Coach Gary Overton would go back to the basics just before tournament time. He would conduct long, tedious practices to concentrate on the fundamentals.

I used to call it “Camp Overton”, and I saw first hand how the extra work paid off.

Unfortunately, this year’s schedule only gives the Pirates a chance to catch their breath, and get set for some more baseball.

At least the Pirates are at home for their last conference series, and then can just hop on the bus for the easy ride to Kinston. The rest of the league will have to fly in, and half of those teams will be coming off road series.

The tournament begins on Tuesday and should be an intense event — especially considering the stakes for the host team.

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02/23/2007 01:22:45 AM

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