ECU baseball building a résuméPublished 11:03am Friday, April 11, 2014
By Michael Prunka
For The Washington Daily News
Between a series win over No. 12 Rice and a dominant, 7-0 showing against No. 25 North Carolina State, East Carolina is receiving national attention and turning heads.
However, manager Billy Godwin isn’t letting that get in the way of what has been the club’s goal all along — winning the Conference-USA Championship and making an impact in postseason play.
“We’re a long way from talking about the end of the year,” said Godwin on the possibility of getting an at-large tournament bid. “We’re talking about Friday [at Old Dominion] right now … we try to build a résumé. We talk about that with our players. At the end the year, we understand. I’ve been in the postseason five times since I’ve been here. I understand what you’ve got to do, who you’ve got to beat and all those things.”
The players seem to understand that, too. The entire team, from freshmen to veterans, remains oriented towards the goals they set in the preseason.
“It’s certainly a good step,” said senior Drew Reynolds following Wednesday’s win over N.C. State. “It’s a good stamping. We’ve been playing well and we realize that. There’s a lot of work left in our conference. We ultimately want to win our conference championship and make a regional. That’s our goal.”
Personally, Reynolds has been doing some of his best work throughout ECU’s winning stretch, which includes 10 wins in the last 12 outings and a 5-1 conference record. In ECU’s series win over Rice and dominating performance versus the Wolfpack, Reynolds went 9-for-17 with two runs and four RBI. Two of those RBI came late in Wednesday’s game when he cranked a triple to center right.
ECU’s newcomers are also doing all they can to stay oriented towards claiming a C-USA title in the Pirates’ final season in the league. One of those newcomers, freshman Charlie Yorgen, has provided plenty of consistency both at second base and at the plate.
“We honestly haven’t even talked about that,” said Yorgen regarding getting attention on the national scene. “It’s just one game at a time. If we start to get in the rankings, it’s great, but we’re just taking it one game at a time.”
“These guys are 18 to 21 years old,” added Godwin. “I’m just trying to keep them focused on the next pitch. We’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
The Pirates aren’t letting the spotlight distract them from their ultimate goal, and winning baseball has provided the team with a burst of added confidence. Ever since an offensively explosive series against Tulane a month ago, the Pirates have yet to lose a series.
“We’ve moved some things around in the turnaround,” Godwin said. “I’ve seen some interesting stats. In our last 14 games, we’re hitting .305 and fielding close to .980 and (we have) walked 22 guys. If anyone knows anything about baseball, you’re going to win a lot of baseball games like that.”
Coming off their first ever series win against Rice and a big win over the in-state rival Wolfpack, the Pirates should be very confident heading into the weekend. Old Dominion (20-14, 8-7 C-USA) is coming off a big 15-2 win over Wofford. A series win against the Monarchs is vital if ECU hopes to chip away at the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s first place position in the conference.