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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

By Brian Bailey

ECU tackles tough slate head-on

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Billy Godwin
Brad Mincey
Devin Harris
(Photos: ECU SID)


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guests JIMMY GRIMSLEY, MARY BRYAN CARLYLE, WELLS GULLEDGE and CHRIS CHERRY. 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.

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Bailey: ECU tackles tough slate head-on
BVL: Baseball polls: Pirates on the move
O'Brien: Holland facing biggest task yet
BVL Audio: Billy Godwin after the USC series
BVL Box Score: ECU 4, South Carolina 2
BVL: Golden Hurricane Hurtts
BVL Box Score: ECU 4, South Carolina 3
BVL Box Score: South Carolina 6, ECU 2
BVL: Mustangs fend off East Carolina
Bradsher: Strong medicine has its purpose
BVL Box Score: ECU 11, Old Dominion 2
Bailey: 'Family' ties bind Ruff regime

Baseball fans have been treated to some great baseball at Clark-LeClair Stadium to start the season.

East Carolina took two out of three from South Carolina this weekend, after dropping two of three to Virginia last weekend.

The Gamecocks were ranked 10th last week, while Virginia was ranked as high as No. 1.

East Carolina’s comeback on Saturday was the catalyst for Sunday’s victory. On Saturday, the Pirates rallied for two in the bottom of the ninth with two out and slipped by the Gamecocks 4-3. ECU then took the series with Sunday’s
4-2 win.

The difference this weekend was the performance of Brad Mincey. Mincey scattered a trio of hits over seven innings in picking up his first win of the season.

“I actually had better stuff last week,” said Mincey. “I did a better job of staying in control this time, though.”

Mincey allowed just an unearned run while facing 27 batters in seven frames of work.

“I challenged Brad last night,” said Coach Billy Godwin after the victory. “We were in the same situation last week and I told Brad that he needed to lead the charge today. He certainly did that.”

The Pirates will need Mincey all season. Godwin was glad to see his Sunday starter have a more “mature” outing.

“I told him he pitched more like a freshman last week (in the loss to Virginia),” Godwin said. “This time he pitched like the veteran that he is, like the guy who has gotten some big wins for the Pirates.”

East Carolina plated three early runs that seemed to give Mincey and the rest of the team plenty of confidence.

“I think it was huge,” said Godwin about jumping out early in the game. “As a pitcher it kind of sets you at ease, you can get ahead early in the count and really attack the zone.”

The Pirate bullpen was outstanding for the entire weekend. The entire staff allowed just 11 runs, six of them earned runs, in the weekend series. Last weekend the staff gave up 19 runs against Virginia in the three games.

Much had been made about how difficult this early season schedule was on paper. Godwin says the schedule played out like he thought it would, with two Top 10 caliber teams visiting Clark-LeClair Stadium. The teams played at a high level in both weekend series.

“Our program has been in the national spotlight for the last two weeks,” said Godwin. “That’s what we intended to do. That’s what our kids deserve. These kinds of games can galvanize you if things don’t go your way. But I’m really proud of the effort through the first two weekends.”

If there is a negative to the start of the year, it’s the play of NCAA Regional hero Devin Harris. Harris had a chance to leave for professional baseball, but returned and will provide some big offensive punch this season. He’s off to a slow start, though, offensively and defensively.

Coach Godwin moved Harris down in the lineup a couple of times over the weekend. He says patience will prove beneficial.

“You just have to love him,” said Godwin. “Baseball is a humbling game. It’s just not that easy. He’s going to do great things for us, there is no doubt in my mind. We are just going to keep working. I know one thing about Devin Harris and that’s that he is going to continue to work. He’s going to be in there busting his tail to make sure he gets better.”

Coaches love the saying that a season is a marathon and not a sprint. The Pirates start the year at 4-3, with six of the seven games coming against Top 10 competition.

Next up for the Pirates, it’s the Keith LeClair Classic. East Carolina opens that event with a matchup against Illinois on Friday afternoon. West Virginia and Western Carolina, the late Keith LeClair’s alma mater, are also in the tournament field.


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03/02/2010 03:42 AM


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