Tough Road Ahead
by Josh Spence

The long, grueling season that is college baseball has already taken its toll on the Pirate baseball team.  A depleted pitching staff has led to over-worked arms, and the Pirate offense which was strong and consistent at the start of the year has shown signs of fatigue.  Despite this and a tough schedule, the Pirates are 28-19 overall and 13-11 in C-USA, pretty impressive considering all they have endured. However, with the season winding down and the coaching staff frantically trying to fill out the 56-game schedule, the road will not get easier for the Pirates.

For the second time in less than a month, the East Carolina baseball team will play five games in six days.  The streak, which includes four road games, begins Tuesday night as the Pirates host NC State for one of two mid-week non-conference match-ups.  The Pirates plan to leave Tuesday night following the game with NC State.  Here is a tentative schedule for the Pirates' next six-day stretch:

Tuesday:        -Beat NC State at Clark LeClair at 7
                          -Leave Greenville (approx. 11 pm) for Greensboro

Wednesday:  -Leave Greensboro for Asheville
                          -Beat Bulldogs @ (7pm-Tentative)
                          -Travel back toward Raleigh and sleep for the
                            night (presumably in Greensboro)

       -Drive to Raleigh and depart for Birmingham,

Friday:             -Beat Blazers @ 8

Saturday:        -Beat Blazers @ 3

Sunday:           -Beat Blazers @ 2, and fly back to Raleigh,
                             bus back to Greenville

This will be the longest road excursion of the year for the Diamond-Bucs and would be a pretty tough schedule for anyone, let alone a college student fresh off the pressures of exam week.  The Pirates have played three games every weekend since Feb. 11,  and have played at least one non-conference game almost every mid-week. East Carolina has had only one Monday-through-Thursday break during this stretch.  Nine games now remain in the Pirates' regular season and will help determine their postseason fate.  One thing for sure, if the Pirates make their seventh straight trip to the NCAA regionals, they will have earned it the hard way.

Josh Spence