ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Pirates Learning
From Past Experience

by Josh Spence
4/25/06

The East Carolina Baseball team got a solid series victory from Marshall last weekend, winning two of three.  For the Pirates, this was a series that was initially considered a must win, but Marshall came to play.  The Pirates used late rallies to overcome deficits in games one and two, needing walk off hits to win both games 10-9, before falling 5-3 in game three.  The Pirates were able to overcome a huge 8-0 deficit in game one, and were able to battle back from several Marshall leads, including 9-7 in the ninth inning of game two.  It seemed as if the Pirates took a page from the book NC State had used to defeat ECU twice in walk-off scenarios earlier this year. 
 
“I didn’t know whether to hug ‘em or strangle ‘em.”  Coach Godwin said after the game two win.  There are two ways to look at it.  The Pirates won the first two games and the series, with offensive outbursts rarely witnessed this year.   For once it was the offense that carried the load.  Wins in come from behind fashion (especially from 8 run deficits) give your team the confidence that a ballgame is never over until the final out.  However, from another perspective, the Pirates needed late inning rallies to defeat Marshall, which came to Greenville with a losing overall record, and a 4-8 Conference record, with three wins coming against last place UAB.  Also consider that if Marshall had the pitching depth to finish ball games, they probably would have swept the Pirates.

It was an interesting weekend to say the least, with great baseball all weekend.  To make it better the Pirates came out on top of two absolute dog-fights, and won two of the most exciting games ever at Clark LeClair stadium.  The questions are:  Was the pitching we saw an aberration?  Marshall came in 2nd in CUSA in batting average and made the Pirates pay with early leads in all three games.  What about the hitting, is that the aberration? ECU has stepped it up offensively since the two-hit shutout of the Pirates by UCF pitcher Tim Bascom, but can it continue?  ECU got the hits they needed against Marshall late in games one and two, but not so much in game 3. 
 
This weekend will be a true test for the Pirates, as ECU hosts Tulane for a three game CUSA series.  Tulane has lost a few more games than people are accustomed to, but still boast a very solid squad with good pitching.  With the Green Wave down in the standings it will be especially important for the Pirates who currently sit third in the league standings behind only Houston and Rice.  The scouting report on the Pirates has seemingly changed recently with the offense stepping up to support a struggling pitching staff.  Has it changed?  Will it go back to how it was before?  Or are the Pirates getting both going at exactly the right time?  One thing is for certain, we’ll know more after this weekend.

Josh Spence
josh@pirateradio1250.com