After spending much of the first half of the season struggling, East Carolina’s baseball team has made a remarkable turnaround.
The Pirates have one final series against Conference-USA opponent UCF between them and the end of the regular season. Going into their final three games, they are tied with UCF and Rice for third place in the conference.
Considering how they started the season, ECU has come a long way. On opening weekend, the Pirates dropped two games to Virginia and one to Campbell—surrendering a total of 33 runs in three games.
After playing their first 15 games of the season at home, ECU finally took to the road. After Campbell swept the series of the Pirates, they headed to Florida for a series against Jacksonville. ECU took the last two games to win its first road series.
However, the Pirates gave up 13 runs in the two games they won. Their defensive woes would continue to plague them for some time and seemingly, the wheels fell off.
ECU lost its next six games—including its C-USA opener when Houston swept ECU. The Pirates were ousted 7-2 in the first game, but the second and third were both decided by a single run.
After entering the ninth inning of the second game down 4-1, ECU battled back by scoring two runs but was unable to tie the game. In the third game, Reinheimer and Dylan Brown helped give the Pirates an early lead that would eventually escape them in extra innings.
Emerging from its series with Houston, ECU’s record slipped below .500. Over the next two weeks, the Pirates fell to the likes of William & Mary, North Carolina State and C-USA foe Rice.
ECU had improved its play on the field, but was not getting results. They were at a crossroads in their season and easily could have let it all slip away from them in the second half of the year.
Owning a 1-6 conference record at the point, they spent a weekend in New Orleans, where things began to change. Two wins later and ECU had taken down Tulane in what was a very competitive series. They were still only 17-19, but they had finally won a C-USA series—on the road, nonetheless.
The following weekend, the Pirates built on their success and started to gain momentum. They swept the UAB Blazers to not only win their second-straight conference series, but also to bring their record above the .500 mark.
Since their weekend in Birmingham, the Pirates have gone 8-3 – including series wins against C-USA No.1 and No. 2 ranked Southern Miss and Memphis – and improved their conference record to 12-9.
Despite its major struggles at the plate earlier in the year, ECU has transformed into a powerful offensive club, which has been instrumental during this stretch.
UCF is the only thing standing between the Pirates and the end of the regular season. Should they continue their dominance and win a sixth-straight league series, they would be nicely poised for postseason success in the C-USA tournament in Houston and possibly beyond.