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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

By Brian Bailey

ECU sweep honors LeClair legacy

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


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Bailey: ECU sweep honors LeClair legacy
BVL: Conference USA Tournament Pairings
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 9, Georgia Southern 3
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 6, Michigan 5
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 10, Pittsburgh 5
BVL: Pirates on short end of nail-biter
Bradsher: LeClair's brainchild draws solid field
Myatt: A time for optimism about ECU sports
Myatt: Hoops squad builds on momentum
Bailey: Program making progress under Mac
O'Brien: CSTV makeover could benefit C-USA

I think it really meant a lot to East Carolina coach Billy Godwin that his team played so well in this past weekend’s Keith LeClair Classic.

If anyone has an understanding about what LeClair meant to this ECU program, it’s Billy Godwin. Godwin wants LeClair’s legacy to always be a part of the program. He knows what the number 23 means to Pirate baseball, and he works hard each year to educate a new crop of Pirates on the history of the number and the daily fight that Coach LeClair put up in battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Godwin’s Pirates have overcome a 1-4 start by now winning seven games in a row, including this weekend’s three-game sweep in the LeClair Classic.

Friday’s play was washed out, giving us what had to be the longest and windiest day in the tournament’s history. Four games were played on Saturday, with ECU beating Pittsburgh 10-5, and then rallying past nationally-ranked Michigan 6-5.

On Sunday, the Pirates took care of Georgia Southern 9-3 to complete the sweep.

“With the elements and the weather, we fought through all of that with the long day yesterday,” said Godwin on Sunday. “I’m really proud of the effort that we gave. I thought we played well in all aspects of the game, as well as we could. We got some timely hits. We played good defense and we got solid pitching.”

All three starters this weekend, Seth Maness, T.J. Hose and Justin Bristow pitched well. Each one gave the Pirates a chance to win, and the Pirates did just that.

“I just went out there and tried to throw strikes,” said Bristow, who gave up just two runs on four hits in seven innings of work. “We jumped on them early and that always gives you confidence as a pitcher, when you get runs early.”

Bristow struck out a career best seven before giving way to Brad Mincey and Bailey Daniels.

It was especially nice to see Daniels finally get some work. Earlier this year it was feared that Daniels might miss the season with arm surgery. A little rest for a strained muscle appears to be the right medicine and Daniels is now ready to go.

The Pirates will send Sthil Sowers to the mound today when VCU comes to town. The Pirates beat the Rams last week 7-4 in Richmond.

LeClair family homecoming

It had to be an emotional return for the LeClair family this weekend. Once again, the LeClair children, Audrey and J.D., threw out the first pitch for the classic that honors their father. It’s amazing how much the two children have grown from year to year. Audrey has that great smile, and J.D. is the spitting image of a young Keith LeClair.

I’ve often written about Lynn LeClair and her amazing strength. She seemed very relaxed at the stadium on Saturday. She always seems so appreciative towards East Carolina.

The LeClairs now live in South Carolina. They’ll always, though, have a home in Greenville at East Carolina University.

Opportunity in Memphis

Mack McCarthy has a chance to do something that no ECU basketball coach has ever done, and that’s to win a game in the C-USA Tournament.

The Pirates tied their all-time mark with five league wins this year. ECU meets Tulsa in the first round of the tournament today at 1 p.m. in the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Tulsa beat East Carolina in the only meeting between the two teams this year, 66-61 back on Feb. 13 in Greenville.

It should be an interesting week regarding the bigger picture for Pirate basketball. A decision on Mack McCarthy’s future as the program's coach should come quickly.

East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland stated last summer that he would get through the entire season before making a decision. He’s done just that.

Holland said he wanted to see improvement. The Pirates are playing their best basketball, and that’s what every coach desires.

Here’s hoping Coach Mack pulls off an upset in Memphis, taking another step towards a full-time gig as ECU’s basketball coach.


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04/21/2008 07:05:20 PM


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