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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 3, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Imperfect weekend had its high points

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guests Lester Lyons, Mike Steele, Jimmie Grimsley, Welles Gulledge and Mary Bryan Carlyle. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250-AM and 930-AM.
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Bailey: Imperfect weekend had its high points
BVL: Coaches Poll & Collegiate Baseball Poll
O'Brien: Utah AG should back off
BVL: Blazers burn Bucs late
BVL: Washout
BVL: Weather throwing knuckle balls
BVL: Pirates lasso Cowboys
Myatt: ECU forced to regroup for Senior Night
Bailey: Garner, friend of the Pirates, passes
Bailey: Great start, great week ahead

March certainly came in like a lion at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Instead of a leisurely weekend of baseball, we were relegated to 27 innings slammed into 26 hours.

We did get some great baseball, but it’s a real shame that the weather wouldn’t cooperate.

On Thursday night, in a prelude to the Keith LeClair Classic, East Carolina came from six runs down to beat 11th-ranked Oklahoma State.

There was certainly a higher power at work on both days at Clark-LeClair Stadium. On Thursday night, the Pirates still trailed 7-4 going to the home half of the seventh. That’s when ECU officials held a moment of silence to honor former Greenville Mayor Les Garner, who was fixture at Pirate games singing “Take me out to the ball game” for the seventh inning stretch.

Garner passed away last weekend shortly after attending a Pirate baseball game. Garner’s rendition of the song for the seventh inning stretch was played from a recording as a part of the brief ceremony.

The Pirates then went out and put an eight-spot on the stunned Cowboys. The Pirates pounded out five straight hits on their way to blowing open a close game. Les would have certainly been proud.

Add in true freshman Kevin Brandt’s performance and it was a night to remember for sure. Brandt came on in relief of Sthil Sowers and tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings, giving up only three hits.

On Friday, the Pirates played a pair of games, beating St. John’s in the opener but falling to Oklahoma State in the rematch.

The Friday story was Brandon Henderson. The player honored with the number 23 for former Coach Keith LeClair put on a great show.

In two games, Henderson was 5-9 with six RBI’s. His three-run home run against Oklahoma State gave the Pirates a late lead that they failed to hang on to.

Henderson was excited about playing so well while wearing the number 23 in the Keith LeClair Classic.

“It felt great to come out and play well,” said Henderson. “I struggled last night (in the Thursday night win over Oklahoma State) but I came out early and worked with Coach (Link) Jarrett and we got it fixed. It really felt go to play so well for Coach LeClair.”

Both Henderson and Coach Billy Godwin liked the heart they saw in this Pirate squad.

“They’re not going to quit,” said Godwin. “I think that was pretty evident when we were down 7-1 against Oklahoma State and then 3-0 in the game with St. John’s. We go down 2-0 in this game with Oklahoma State, but we kept responding, and that’s a sign of a good club.

"I couldn’t be any more pleased. Things (in the second game against Oklahoma State) just didn’t fall our way tonight.”

“We’re going to compete until the game is over,” Henderson added. “We’re never out of a game. To come out here and get down early in all of the games we played and to come back, it’s fun. We’re getting there.”

Even with Saturday’s rain, officials had hoped to get in some baseball on Sunday. The entire weekend, however, was a washout and the rest of this great event had to be cancelled.

Coach Godwin was obviously disappointed.

“We want to play,” said Godwin. “It’s baseball season and we want to play. We’re just hoping this rain will get out of here and we get to play.”

The rain and cold weather lingered, so there was no more baseball. In fact, on Monday officials announced that Tuesday’s game with Old Dominion would be moved to Wednesday.

Hopefully, since it came in like a lion, March will go out like a lamb!


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03/03/2009 03:32:17 AM


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