‘Wright Brothers’ helping Pirates fly by opponentsPublished 11:02pm Thursday, March 3, 2011
GREENVILLE č The Pirates will look to string together their third win in a row today when they open up a three game series against Pepperdine at home today at 5 p.m.
After sweeping Youngstown State to start the season 3-0, the Pirates traveled to take on No. 10 Virginia for a three-game battle and struggled against the Cavaliers. ECU fell in the first two games of the series, but thanks to a stellar effort on the mound from junior Mike Wright, the Pirates were able to win the final game of the series 4-3.
On Tuesday, ECU (5-2) won its second straight game as catcher Zach Wright went 2-for-4 with a grand slam and drove in five runs to top the Camels 7-4.
Wright said that when he hit his grand slam he was not looking to jack a home run, but just wanted to make good contact.
“I was just trying to hit the ball square,” Wright said. “I haven’t really been hitting the ball very good but the coaches have been working with me on trying to stay short to the ball … I was just seeing the ball good that night and hopefully it will carry over to this weekend.”
Tuesday night’s effort lifted Wright’s season average to .240 and has him tied with Corey Thompson for the team lead in RBIs with six.
While Wright has been hot at the plate, his battery mate Mike Wright (no relation) has been equally impressive on the mound. Together the Wright Brothers have been a big part of the Pirates’ last two wins.
Against Virginia Mike Wright tossed a career-high seven innings, and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. Wright finished the game allowing five hits while striking out four batters. On the season Wright is 2-0 with a .75 ERA.
“The infielders did a good job and the outfielders did too, it’s not just on me it’s on the whole team as a whole,” Wright said of the team’s win on Sunday.
Last season Wright was used mostly out of the bullpen and as a midweek starter, but this year he was promoted to the No 3 starter in the weekend rotation. After back-to-back impressive starts, Wright has been elevated to the No. 2 starter and will take the mound on Saturday against Pepperdine (4-4, West Coast Conference).
Zach Wright, Mike’s catcher for the last two seasons, said he has seem tremendous progress from the 6-5 righty.
“Mike is a special guy and he has totally changed from one year to another. I have seen it in his personality and I have seen it in his arm,” Zach said. “Whenever he goes out there I have no doubt we are going to win the game … (pitching) coach (Dan) Roszel has done a great job with Mike and he really has him focused more on not missing his pitches and missing small. He does a better job with location and he has a curveball and a slider now that are really dominant pitches.”
Mike said making changes to his mental approach has improved his effectiveness on the mound.
“Positive thinking, and a lot of things like that, make you a completely different person,” Mike said. “I knew I had to work on it for years, but for some reason I just made strides this year.”
East Carolina coach Billy Godwin said that Sunday’s win over the Cavaliers was a good morale booster.
“It was huge, especially when you are sitting there down 2-0 and that’s all you can get. It made the bus ride home a little shorter, I think the guys are more confident,” Godwin said.
Godwin said the Pirates were able to learn a lesson or two from its weekend in Virginia.
“Unfortunately, we learned some things we can’t do, which hurts, but failure sometimes is your greatest teacher,” Godwin said. “We did some things not at a high level and did not match their high level of play and we played with them. So if we correct those things we can play with anybody in the country.”
Someone who has been playing at a consistently high level is Corey Thompson, whose .400 batting average is the highest of anyone on ECU with over 20 at-bats. Thompson was named the Pirates Hitter of the Week.
Last week’s Pitcher of the Week, Seth Maness (1-1, 3.48), will get the Friday start and will likely face off against the Waves Aaron Gates (0-1, 4.09). On Saturday, Wright, this week’s Pitcher of the Week, is scheduled to lock horns with Jon Moscot (0-0, 3.18), while ECU’s Zach Woods (0-1, .84) will start against Eric Karch (1-1, 5.87).
Center fielder Bobby Humphries leads Pepperdine with eight RBIs, while utility player Chris Amezquita is hitting a team-best .280.