Proud to Be a Pirate
by Josh Spence

If you are a fan of East Carolina, then chances are you had a pretty good weekend.  The ECU women's basketball team won the conference USA championship, the baseball Pirates went 2-1, including a win over 12th ranked Pepperdine at this weekend's Keith LeClair Classic, and the Lady Pirate softball team swept five games at its own tournament.  What a great weekend to be a Pirate. 

The ECU baseball team fell one win shy of a perfect weekend. Unfortunately, many Pirate fans would trade both of the wins they did get to have another shot at NC State. ECU lost 5-4 in 10 innings to the Wolfpack in front of a record crowd.  5,523 was not only the largest number of fans to see a game at Clark LeClair stadium, it was also announced at the game that it was the most fans to ever watch a collegiate baseball game in the state of North Carolina. 

There were a few things during the weekend that I thought showed good signs for the baseball team.  First is the win over Pepperdine.  The Pirates proved that they can beat a top-tier team, and a top-tier pitcher.  Barry Enright came in as a pre-season All American and ECU handed him his first loss.  That proof may be more valuable to the Pirates themselves than anyone else.

Second I thought the Pirates proved that they could win close games.  All three of the Pirates contests were decided by one run, and they won two of them.  The other game they lost in extra innings to a ranked opponent.  To come back and win in walk-off fashion over Western Carolina the day after losing a heartbreaker was also impressive. 

To put it simply, this team is competing.  They didn't win at UCLA, but came close.  They dropped an ugly game to Campbell, but they are 5-1 since.  TJ Hose had his best outing of the year against Pepperdine, Dustin Sasser threw six really solid innings against NC State, and Josh Dowdy has been very good as the third starter.  If the Pirates starters can continue like this, the baseball Pirates will be okay. 

On a weekend in which ECU baseball and softball had combined record of 7-1 at home tournaments, it was women's basketball that stole the show.

The Lady Pirates beat Rice in the Conference USA tournament title game Sunday to win their first ever C-USA championship.   With the win the lady Pirates advance to the NCAA tournament for only the second time in school history.  It's been a great season for the lady Pirates who have now won 10 straight games.  Good luck to the team, which finds out its NCAA tournament destiny during the women's selection show Monday March 12th at 8:00.

Content with a solid weekend in ECU athletics I sat at home and watched television on Sunday evening.  It was then that the icing was put on the cake.  An episode (possibly a re-run) of the Golf Channel's latest installment of the show "The Big Break" was on.  As you may know, ECU women's golf coach Kim Lewellen is a past participant, and a current contestant on "The Big Break" reunion show.  Not only was she having tremendous success over the other competitors, she was doing it rocking ECU gear.  With an ECU shirt and visor, Kim sported her team with pride.  Something we all can do after a weekend that should make us all proud to be Pirates!

Josh Spence