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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

By Brian Bailey

ECU adapting to midseason shakeup

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Adversity is a part of every sports season. Be it a key injury or suspension or something else, problems arise every year. It’s how a team handles that adversity that determines essentially how successful that team is.

The East Carolina baseball squad is still adjusting to life after losing one of the team’s best players in shortstop Dustin Harrington.

The Pirates dropped a game to UNC-Wilmington the night that Harrington and pitcher Stihl Sowers were dismissed from the program. The squad then lost two out of three to Tulane before beating Memphis in two out of three games this past weekend.

Coach Billy Godwin told me during the Tulane series that he thought it might take a week or two for the dust to settle, for everyone to get accustomed to their roles with the loss of the two players. The problem was that he didn’t have a couple of weeks.

It is very difficult to build a team for a season and then have to revamp halfway through. That’s the challenge, though, for Godwin and his staff.

“I think everyone is getting more comfortable with the changes,” said pitching coach Bill Jarman on my weekly radio show on Pirate Radio 1250 Monday night. [Replay Show]

Jarman knows another key to this season is his pitching staff. He is adamant that the team’s success may hinge on Brad Mincey, who’ll get the start against Campbell later tonight.

“We’re going to throw Brad Mincey against Campbell,” Jarman said. “If we are going to be in the thick of this thing down the stretch, we will need a healthy Brad Mincey. We’d like to get five strong innings out of him and then hopefully get a chance to see some of our other pitchers that need work.”

Jarman got some good news on Monday with the announcement that Kevin Brandt was named as the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week. Brandt struck out a career high 11 in the Pirate’s 3-2 win over Memphis on Sunday.

“He was pretty good,” Jarman said. “What’s funny about pitching is that he didn’t have a good bullpen session before the game. He usually does have a great pen before a game, but he didn’t this time out. But when he got in the game his breaking ball came back and he was really good.”

Jarman and the coaching staff decided to change up the rotation this past weekend, throwing Zach Woods in as the Friday starter. Woods pitched well enough and put the Pirates in position to win. The Friday jinx, however, continued as Memphis rallied for the victory.

The Pirates are just 20-12 overall and 3-3 in Conference USA. It’s not where this squad wanted to be at this point. Jarman says the Pirates certainly aren’t pushing the panic button.

“I thought last year there was more parity in our conference,” Jarman said. "But this year I think there is even more. I don’t think any team is a clear cut favorite. The leader in the conference has three losses, and that’s what we have.”

Spring football climax

Pirate fans will get their first real look at this new East Carolina football offense and defense this weekend with the annual spring game.

I’ve been to both scrimmages and have really been impressed with Brad Wornick at quarterback. I met Brad for the first time after the first scrimmage, and he seems like he’s ready to take advantage of this opportunity with the new offense.

Wornick said the design of the offense is for someone to be wide open on every play.

“It’s really not complicated at all,” explained Wornick. “It’s designed to give the quarterback a couple of different reads and I just go through those reads to get the ball to the open receiver.”

Rio Johnson and Josh Jordan will also see plenty of action this week.

Head coach Ruffin McNeil will break down the spring game on the radio this coming Monday night at 6:30 p.m. on my show.

Enjoy this weekend, because it’s a long time until September!


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

08/06/2010 01:56 AM


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