Only one month ago East
Carolina pitcher Ricky Brooks felt a no-hitter slip through his fingers
against Charlotte. A ground ball off the glove of Pirate
infielder Dale Mollenhauer, with two outs in the ninth inning, cost him
that honor. However, that honor could not evade Brooks much
Previously, the only no-hitter in Conference USA history was by
Josh Bobbitt in 1998. Bobbitt's performance was over 7 innings.
On Sunday, Ricky Brooks pitched the first nine-inning no-hitter in
Conference USA history, in the Pirates 3-0 win over Memphis.
Brooks was also one base runner away from a perfect game. In the
fourth inning Memphis batter Chris Newsome beat out a throw to first
after swinging at a Ricky Brooks breaking ball for strike three.
The ball got away from catcher Jake Smith, allowing Newsome to reach
However, that wasn't the only blemish on Ricky's near perfect
performance. Unfortunately for Ricky, one of the smallest crowds
of the year showed up to witness his biggest day. The picture of
Ricky on www.ecupirates.com
says it all. Official attendance was announced as 2,559, but we
all know that season tickets sold are figured into that. This was
the smallest turnout of the weekend. Announced attendance
Saturday was 2,706 and 3,000 plus on Friday. The small crowd also
followed mid-week match-ups against non-conference, in state rivals
that drew 3,800 on Tuesday night, and better than 4,200 on Wednesday.
I guess the small turnout was understandable. An early morning
game on a Sunday, the Pirates were taking on one of the worst teams in
the conference, who also stole their fourth conference win of the year
over the Pirates the day before. It was cold, even raining before
the game. I'm not trying to criticize, but the Pirates deserve
better. The first nine-inning no-hitter in conference USA
history, and maybe 500 people saw it.
Just imagine if the Pirates could put 3,500 in the seats every time
they went out. They would never lose to teams like Memphis at
home. Don't they deserve it? The Pirates consistently put
together a top-25 program, and they have a brand new state-of-the-art
stadium. This baseball program has given Pirates everywhere
something to be proud of, and it's our job to show our support and let
them know their efforts are appreciated.