ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
Broken Records, Broken Bones
by Billy Weaver
4/14/06

The atmosphere Wednesday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium is something I won't soon forget. It's what college baseball is all about.

A record 5,041 fans piled into the home of the Pirates to watch East Carolina beat rival North Carolina State 2-1 in 13 innings.

About an hour and a half before the game I hobbled onto the field with a purple cast from my left toes to just below my knee. Billy Godwin was one of literally hundreds of people before the end of the night to utter the phrase... "What happened to you?" By then I had already run out of "manly" reasons for fracturing my ankle. Here's a few: "It was a bull riding accident, I was the only man brave enough to try breaking in Hurricane." "I was working on my double back flip with Dave Mirra and landed hard on the other side of a 30 foot ramp." "Sky diving over the Grand Canyon" or my favorite... "I told my wife she better get in the kitchen and fix me some eggs or bad things were gonna happen... the next thing I know I'm in a hospital bed cryin' for my momma!"

In reality it was a simple basketball injury. The result of a bunch of old men trying to hang on to youth.

But enough about my ankle. Back to baseball.

So after Godwin giggled about my foot, he expressed to me just how important it was for ECU to beat N.C. State. Of course I got a real good sense of that when he announced that ace pitcher T.J. Hose would get the start on the mound after just four days of rest. After years of coaches at ECU downplaying the importance of beating an out-of-conference, in-state rival it was refreshing to hear Godwin say what we all know coaches think. Of course he stopped short of telling his team how much was riding on beating N.C. State. Somehow I think they already knew.

Godwin realized prior to the game that beating N.C. State had very little to do with "bragging rights" and everything to do with helping secure an eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. The win over a nationally ranked N.C. State team improves ECU's RPI and strength of schedule and that could only help late in the season if the Pirates happen to falter in the Conference USA Tournament.

The Pirates return to the field Friday night for the first of three games against Albany. I'll see you at the game... And don't ask about the cast!!!!!!!!!
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Billy Weaver
billy.weaver@witntv.com