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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Pirates on defense about defense

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

You’re not going to sweep every series in Conference USA play, but the goal is certainly to win each weekend set, especially those played at home.

That’s why the three-game series with Houston this past weekend was especially disappointing for East Carolina. These are the types of series that make or break a team trying to host a regional come May.

The series was very reminiscent of the South Carolina series last month. Houston put a real whipping on this Pirate team in Friday’s game, only to see East Carolina return the favor on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Pirates fell down by five, only to rally to tie the game. But the bullpen couldn’t keep things even, and the Pirates dropped the rubber match 8-5.

“We got down and we came back,” said Pirate coach Billy Godwin. “Overall, defensively, we gave away too many runs. That can’t happen in a conference weekend with a good opponent. We’ve got a good offensive club and we know that, but that puts a lot of pressure on your offense if you don’t make the plays defensively.”

The Pirates were held to just four hits in the Sunday finale. It was the lowest hit total of the season in a game for ECU. Add in a trio of miscues, and you got an Easter Sunday the Pirates would just as soon forget.

“Maybe you can credit their pitcher,” continued Godwin. “I though we had some good swings. We hit some balls hard at times. It’s a funny game. I think it’s a whole lot different if we go out and make plays.”

At times, this squad just doesn’t seem comfortable on defense. Drew Schieber’s back may still be bothering him. Godwin has tinkered with his defense all year long. That process may have to continue.

East Carolina’s 13-game home stand concludes with Wednesday night’s match up with Campbell. The Pirates then hit the road in C-USA play this coming weekend at Central Florida.

Godwin hinted that there might be some changes to come as his team heads to Orlando.

“Every series we play is important. That’s the way it is from here on out on the weekends. This crowd will regroup and bounce back. We’ve go to iron out a few things. We’ll concentrate on Campbell first and then UCF for the weekend.”

Mac is the Man

Unfortunately, I was out of town in Florida at a funeral when the news broke concerning Mack McCarthy’s promotion to the full-time head coaching position.

I spoke to Coach Mac briefly on Friday and he seemed excited and relieved that the decision had been made. He, more then anyone, knows just how much work still lies ahead for the Pirate basketball program.

It’s a tough nut to crack, but McCarthy has cracked tough nuts before at Chattanooga and at Virginia Commonwealth. He received a five-year contract, giving him enough time to carry out his plan in Greenville.

It will be interesting to see just what else is in store for the basketball program. Obviously, you have to walk before you can run. The Pirates took a huge first step in inking McCarthy to his contract.

The next move is to create greater interest in the program. Winning will help in that area, but somehow, someway, going to a Pirate basketball game has to become the thing to do during the season.

East Carolina has to figure out a way to make going to the games as fan friendly as possible. I think it’s sort of like minor league baseball. Most fans don’t know any of the players, but the fans know that a night at the ballpark is fun on many different levels.

I bet Coach McCarthy has some ideas.


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04/21/2008 07:01:21 PM


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