happened to the East Carolina baseball team on February 21st,
2007. On that day the Pirates appeared to have fallen to a new
low. ECU was attempting to rebound from a disappointing season
that saw them miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in eight
years. On that Wednesday in February, an NCAA tournament berth
already seemed out of reach.
The Pirates had just lost to Campbell University in a series they have
dominated, losing for just the 18th time in 66 tries. To make it
worse, the Pirates lost 2-0, suffering their first shutout loss of the
year. The loss also marked the Pirates' fourth in a row, and
dropped ECU to 2-5 on the season. At that point, with no real
quality wins, the outlook was bleak for ECU baseball.
But something seemed to happen that day. As if someone flipped a
switch, the Pirates have been a different team since then. Head
Coach Billy Godwin agreed. "Yeah, we talked about a lot. I
think the thing we really honed in on was leadership and
Since that point ECU is 11-1, with the only loss coming in extra
innings to nationally ranked NC State. Along the way the Pirates
have knocked off 12th ranked Pepperdine, and have just completed a
sweep of 6th ranked Cal State Fullerton, the Pirates first ever sweep
of a top ten team. Add to that wins over Washington which has won
five straight, Duke (15-4), and Western Carolina (9-6).
The success has been predicated on a team effort that emphasizes every
phase of the game. The Pirate bats have come alive in the last
ten games, but stellar pitching has been the real story. Through
the first two games against Cal State Fullerton, East Carolina had
allowed six hits and only one run. Starters TJ Hose, Dustin
Sasser and Josh Dowdy have all been excellent over the last two
weeks. If the starting pitching can continue this way with the
depth this team has in the bullpen, this could be a big year for ECU
The Pirates blistered Titans pitching all weekend scoring a total of 20
runs in the series. That includes scoring eight runs (3 earned)
off of Titans pitcher Sean Urena, who was named co-national player of
the week last week, after a complete game one-hit shutout of
Rice. The Pirates got six hits and three walks off of the
freshman before sending him to the showers after only 2.2 innings.
The one thing the Pirates haven't proven yet is the ability to win on
the road. That may have been the biggest reason the Pirates
didn't make an NCAA regional last year. A 4-15 road record last
year cost this team dearly, as it does any team come selection
time. Just ask any team that didn't qualify for basketballs field
Right now ECU is about half way through a 21 game home stand.
East Carolina is 10-1 in that stretch and has proven thus far the
ability to win the big ones at home. If they can get it done on
the road remains to be seen. The Pirates have only three games
under their belt in competition away from Clark-LeClair stadium.
They were swept in three games at UCLA despite a pretty good effort in
games two and three.
The sweep of Cal State Fullerton was big for this team in terms of
gaining national attention as ECU has cracked the top 25 for the first
time in two years. The Pirates have proven they can pitch and hit
with the big boys. The key now lies in keeping the momentum
going, but more importantly winning the games you should win.
It's time now for the Pirates to pick up numbers in the win category,
because the big wins are there.