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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Expectations high as first pitch nears

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Billy Godwin
(Photo: ECU SID)
Kevin McMullan
(Photo: UVa SID)


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guest SAMMY BATTEN. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
Replay Show
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Bailey: Expectations high as first pitch nears
BVL: East Carolina comeback falters
Bradsher: Baseball Bucs seek more than tributes
BVL Audio: Billy Godwin Press Conference
Bailey: McNeill era off and running at ECU
BVL: Morrow's return propels Pirates
BVL: Golden Eagles fly away from Pirates
O'Brien: "Ruff" ready to lead for the long haul
BVL Audio: Ruffin McNeill Presser
BVL Audio: Terry Holland on Ruffin McNeill
BVL: Old hand returns to home port
Myatt: Holland weighing diverse scenarios
O'Brien: Name game narrows

The East Carolina baseball team continues to rack up the national rankings this preseason.

Obviously, there are too many national polls for baseball. But the different rankings do make for great conversation.

This is the first time in school history that ECU is ranked in six national preseason polls. The highest the Pirates are ranked is 11th by

We’ll have more baseball this Saturday as the program announces which Pirate player will wear the number 23, to honor former ECU coach Keith LeClair. It’s the annual “Meet the Pirates” luncheon, and the highlight each year is the “23” announcement.

Coach Billy Godwin gets emotional when he talks about the honor.

“It is the highest honor for any ECU baseball player,” said Godwin. “These guys know just how much it means.”

The Pirates open the 2010 season two weeks from Friday when Virginia comes to town for what should be a great three-game series. The Cavaliers are ranked as high as second in the national polls.

Virginia’s associate head coach Kevin McMullan served as the Pirates' acting head coach for Coach LeClair in 2002, when LeClair could no longer continue on with his duties because of his battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease. LeClair died in 2006.

McMullan led the Pirates to a Conference USA title and the NCAA regionals during a very trying time. McMullan should have been rewarded with the head coaching job, which was later given to Randy Mazey.

It’ll be good to see Coach McMullan in a couple of weeks. I’m sure his emotions will also be running high as he coaches in the stadium named for his former friend and colleague.

ECU and Virginia open their series on February 19th.

Budget doubleheader nets split

East Carolina offered a rarity in this day and age on Saturday. The Pirate basketball doubleheader featuring both the men and the women went on, despite terrible road conditions all around the state. For those that were close enough to get to the games, admission was free.

How about that for a cheap date! There were no “ticket takers.” All you had to do was show up and find a seat in Williams Arena. Two wins would have made for a near perfect day.

The women held up their end. Despite losing two of the league’s best players from last year in Jasmine Young and LaCoya Terry, the Lady Pirates moved into a tie for first place in Conference USA with a convincing 76-59 victory over Memphis.

This Lady Pirates set a new home winning streak mark with their 11th straight victory. This seems to be a close knit group. It’s also a group that may get even better as the season continues.

Sharon Baldwin-Tener knows her team can play even better.

“We turn the ball over way too much,” said Baldwin-Tener after the win. “Thank goodness we shoot the ball well from the floor. Our defense was decent in the game, except for boxing out. I think we have to take care of the basketball, there’s no doubt.”

The women are fun to watch. They play a very unselfish style of basketball in which a new star seems to rise to the occasion with each outing.

McCarthy groping for answers

As for the men, Mack McCarthy described his feelings after Saturday night’s loss to Rice as “befuddled.”

Coach Mack could have used other words to describe his feelings on how his team trailed by 18 points at halftime to previously C-USA winless Rice. He could have used perplexed. How about bewildered?

Coach Mac certainly seemed dazed after the 69-58 loss.

McCarthy’s squad just isn't good enough to come out flat against any team. Rice dominated the Pirates in the first half Saturday night.

ECU did play much better and much harder in the second half, but the squad seemed to run out of gas after cutting the lead to two with about five minutes to play.

McCarthy said he didn’t think the team warmed up well. He says the staff watches the team from a monitor in the locker room and was concerned before the game.

After that tough first half, the Pirates did battle.

“We had some good efforts (in the second half)”, said McCarthy. “Darrius Morrow really played hard. Corvonn Gaines really played hard. I thought a lot of people played hart in the second half. For the first half, I’m befuddled.”


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02/02/2010 03:48 AM


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