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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, Marsh 10, 2015
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Baseball trends up, hoops not so much

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

For the second straight weekend, first-year East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin had a little smile on his face.

The Pirates swept Monmouth in a three-game set which finally featured baseball-type weather.

East Carolina won a pair of close games in the series, sandwiched around a 9-0 rout in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader.

“Anytime you can sweep in college baseball is huge,” said Godwin. “I told our guys before the game that it wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't. You know, we had to battle from behind and Reid Love just did a tremendous job.”

Godwin is using his ace lefthander pretty much on an as needed basis. His hopes were to give Love a start against Campbell tomorrow night, but as Godwin said after Love picked up the win in relief in the final game of the Monmouth series, you have to win the game you’re playing first.

Love was perfect in four innings of work against the Hawks. No hits, no walks, no errors. Absolutely nada.

“I felt like just getting ahead in the count, that's what really helped me,” said Love after the game. “I really just needed to relax and not take every pitch so seriously. Just relax and play baseball and just let it come to me.”

His catcher certainly agreed.

“Reid had everything working,” said Travis Watkins. “His change-up was really good. His curve ball was good to the lefties and his fastball was spotting up on both sides of the plate. I mean that's fun to catch back there when we got guys out there just pounding the zone.”

Monmouth left town with perfection the other way on their ledger. The Hawks are off to a 0-9 start under former Pirate Dean Ehehalt. Ehehalt has had great success with the New Jersey school, and his team was certainly competitive most of the weekend.

Godwin said the close games will help his team down the road.

“It's good to be in those tight run games because it's going to be one-run games once we start conference play a lot,” he said. “For them to be able to win that game and walk off and feel confident is huge. We executed really well. You saw the bunts that we got down and then drove the guys in, Bryce with a sac fly and then Travis with [a] two-out RBI, so that's what it's going to take as we move forward.”

The Pirates host Campbell tonight and then UNC-Greensboro on Wednesday before traveling to Elon this weekend.

Tough Sunday

East Carolina’s men and women’s basketball teams suffered big losses on Sunday.

The men fell at Houston 72-54 in the regular season finale. ECU will now head to Hartford, Connecticut as the eighth seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The Pirates will take on Central Florida on Thursday at 3:30. They swept the Knights this season. If ECU can get the win on Thursday, it would then take on top seed Southern Methodist in the first quarterfinal on Friday.

The women fell in their AAC semifinal matchup with top ranked UConn. The Huskies won the game 106-56.

UConn’s two wins in the tournament have come by a total of 109 points.

Huskie’s coach Geno Auriemma continued to throw compliments East Carolina’s way, despite the blowout.

“Our guys look like they play at a certain pace, and it works for us against every team we play,” Auriemma told the media after the game. “But when we play a team that is athletic and physical like East Carolina, because our guys kick it into another gear, it almost looks like they’re not nearly as athletic as they looked last night (in the Pirates' win over Temple)… It makes them look less than they are, and that’s why we do what we do and why we practice the way we practice.”

Junior forward I’Tiana Taylor led the Pirates with 17 points. Jada Payne had 15 in the loss.

The Pirate women now await word about the postseason, most likely in the WNIT.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

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