now officially three weeks into the 2006 Pirate baseball season.
East Carolina is off to another solid start wining seven of its first
ten games. Ironically all three Pirate losses have come on
Sunday. This season the Pirates are 1-3 in games on Sunday,
having played four; two against Maryland after a Saturday rainout, and
one in each of the last two weeks. The Pirates most recent loss
came this past Saturday to Virginia Tech, the team that was the
consensus selection as the 6th-best team in the Keith LeClair classic
So what’s the answer to the Sunday blues? Coach Godwin suggests
the Pirates should quit playing on Sundays all together. “All
three of our losses have come on Sunday, so maybe we need to start
playing on Mondays, I don’t know”.
Obviously that’s not the answer, but what is? You can’t blame
Pirates Sunday starter Shane Matthews. Although Shane received
the loss against Virginia Tech on Sunday it was his first of the year,
and Matthews didn’t throw poorly by any means. Matthews pitched a
total of five and a third innings, a season high, and allowed three
runs. Perhaps the only bad pitch he threw was hit over the left
field wall by Tech’s Jose Cueto, scoring two runs in the top of the
fourth. It was one of three hits he allowed all day. Coach
Godwin has said since Matthew’s first start that he thinks Shane’s
numbers don’t indicate how well he has pitched. Matthews seems to
get better in every appearance and again is not the problem.
Offensively the Pirates have been, pardon the pun, hit or miss.
In two of the Pirates Sunday losses, to Maryland, and Virginia Tech,
the team combined to score one run. The Pirates lost 11-8 on the
only other Sunday game against the College of Charleston, and credit
the Cougars; they finally displayed the offense many of us were waiting
for. It is offensively the Pirates have struggled, and
particularly with left-handed pitching.
For the Pirate offense seniors Jay Mattox, Jake Smith, and red-shirt
freshman Stephen Batts have been carrying the load, all right-handed
hitters. Dale Mollenhauer has also been good for the Pirates, and
Adam Witter has scored and been on base as much as anyone as he
continues to lead the team in walks. In spots other guys have
stepped up, including Pirate freshmen, but the three previously
mentioned right-handers have been the most consistent.
It seems that on most days the pitching will be good enough to keep the
team close, but can the Pirates produce enough runs to stay
close? That will be the question. The heavy left-handed
lineup will need to get better against left-handed pitching for the
Pirates to be ultimately successful.