The Race is On
by Josh Spence

It's hard to believe but the 2005 baseball season is coming down the home stretch.  There are only twelve games remaining in the regular season, and only four at home.  It has been an incredible year.  The Pirates have had to battle through the toughest schedule in recent memory, as well as a slew of injuries.  At (26-17) and (11-10) in Conference USA, a seventh consecutive berth to the NCAA tournament is not a lock, but don't count the Pirates out yet. 

East Carolina Baseball 2005 will go down as a season to remember.  The opening of the Clark-LeClair stadium highlights the dawning of a new era for the Pirates.  Following a 51 win season in which the Pirates made their second trip in four years to the Super-Regionals, it would be easy to get down on this team.  But remember, the Pirates lost a lot of talent last year to the MLB draft.  The number of players on the injured list that once seemed insurmountable before the season, pales in comparison to the number we have seen during the regular season.  Yet the Pirates are 9 games above .500 against solid competition. 

Early projections have begun for the 64 team field that comprises the 2005 NCAA baseball tournament.  According to there are three teams in Conference USA "locked" into the NCAA tournament.  Tulane, TCU, and Southern Miss are the three.  East Carolina at this point is "on the bubble".  The most important thing to remember about these projections is that they are as of now.  These projections do not factor in what could happen down the line. 

Just twelve games left for the Pirates, with the chance that one game will be added to the schedule to fill the 56 game limit.  The Diamond Bucs will need to do especially well in the 9 remaining Conference USA contests.  Three C-USA teams are a lock for the tournament with a good chance that a fourth will make it as well.  The other top candidates for entry number four, are South Florida and UAB, with whom the Pirates have consecutive weekend series starting this weekend at USF.  The Pirates have their postseason destiny in their own hands, now the only thing left to do is win.

Josh Spence