East Carolina baseball team is now getting ready for the next phase
of the 2006 season, road trips. The Pirates started the season
with 15 home games before heading on the road to take on 2004 National
Champion Cal State Fullerton. It happened quickly, but the
Pirates have only a game against North Carolina A & T on Wednesday
before hitting the road for the first time.
The only question now is, are the Pirates ready? At 11-3 the
Pirates have started the season on a very positive note. The team
has won all three season series (Maryland, Col. of Charleston, and
Stony Brook) and took two of three in the Keith LeClair Classic.
Currently the Pirates sit as Conference USA’s top run producer with 100
on the year, and also have allowed the leagues fewest runs, 41.
ECU also possesses the leagues best team ERA at 2.18. Not too bad
considering the competition in Conference USA. Amongst other
national powers the league includes Rice, the 2003 National Champion
that just took 2 out of games against Fullerton last weekend.
Pirates have relied on solid pitching early in the year, with the three
weekend starters dominating on the mound so far, in addition to stellar
relief from the bullpen. However, as evidenced by the league
leading 100 runs, the team has been able to score when necessary.
Leading the team offensively has been Jake Smith who has put the team
on his back over the last two weeks. The Pirates senior catcher
has totaled 21 RBI, 4HR, and 15 hits in the last two weeks alone,
helping the Pirates to 7 wins in 8 games.
Pirates to continue to be successful, pitching and hitting will have to
continue even when the competition gets better. Another obstacle
the team will have to overcome is youth. The Pirates are
regularly starting two freshmen in the lineup, and at least three
others are seeing solid playing time. Add to that two regular
starters that are junior college transfers who will see their first
division one road action this weekend against a team ranked in the top
ten in the country.
The Pirates have started 2006 in the right direction, but it’s early
and there is still a long way to go. Suffice it to say this team
still has a lot of questions to answer. Certainly we will know
more after this weekend as the Pirates travel to take on perennial
power Cal-State Fullerton. All the games can be heard on Pirate
Radio 1250 & 930 this season. Malcolm Gray, with ECU baseball
media relations, will join me in the booth this weekend as we travel to