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Pirates suddenly Penny-less Staff

Senior Davey Penny, a team leader and the anchor of the East Carolina pitching staff, has been dismissed from the the squad as the Pirates' regular-season concluding series at Tulane and the Conference USA Tournament loom. (Photo: ECU)

GREENVILLE — Davey Penny, who has been East Carolina's pitching ace this season, is no longer a member of the school's baseball team.

Word that the senior right-hander had been dismissed from the squad came in a tersely worded Monday afternoon press release from the ECU media relations office.

The announcement of Penny's abrupt dismissal was attributed in the press release not to ECU head baseball coach Randy Mazey but to "the Pirate baseball program."

Customarily, a formal announcement by a collegiate athletic department about a sanction levied against an athlete is issued in the name of the player's coach or in the name of the school's director of athletics or his agent.

Mazey declined to comment on Penny's dismissal Monday evening.

The press release cited "conduct detrimental to the team" as the reason for the action.

According to multiple sources, the measure was triggered by Penny's failure to accompany his teammates back onto the field following a lengthy delay caused by thunderstorms during the Pirates' 11-8 win over UAB last Friday night.

Penny acknowledged that the accounts were correct.

Still recovering from multiple fractures of the upper jaw and sinus cavities incurred when he was struck by a line drive in a game at Texas Christian three weeks earlier, Penny started the game against the Blazers to the surprise of many observers.

In a recent Internet chat session hosted by, Penny had indicated he was anxious to get back into the pitching rotation sooner rather that later.

"I'm hard-headed and I shouldn't, but I'd like to," he responded to a query from a fan about when he would take the mound again. "My doctors have advised me against it, but I'm still day-to-day."

As a senior playing in ECU's last home series of the season, Penny said Monday evening, he was upset upon learning during the UAB game that he would not be returning to the mound after the lengthy storm delay.

Noting that it was his final opportunity to pitch in Harrington Stadium, he expressed the mounting frustration of a season of bad breaks, he said, by not rejoining his teammates when play resumed.

Penny, who had a 4-3 record and 2.82 ERA, concedes he was at fault but questions the harshness of the penalty.

"The situation could have been handled differently," he said of his discharge from the team. "On the flip side, I could have handled it better Friday night, but that was my mistake."

ECU trailed 4-3 when bad weather interrupted the game after UAB's half of the 4th inning. When play resumed an hour and 40 minutes later, Penny was relieved by Glenn Tucker who eventually gave way to Neil Sears as the Pirates mounted a winning rally.

A product of Clayton High School, Penny was named Conference USA pitcher of the week not long before suffering the injuries to his face.

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02/23/07 11:21:15 AM----

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