East Carolina opens CUSA Tourney play with Rice on Wednesday
Pirates and Owls play non-pod game on Day One of newly formatted event
When the season began, East Carolina certainly didn’t anticipate being in a do or die situation in its regular season finale’ against Houston.
However, after facing much adversity on many fronts, that’s the predicament the Pirates found themselves in on Saturday.
ECU (31-25, 11-13) dropped the first two games to the Cougars and squandered the chance to control its own destiny. All the Pirates could do was win and hope that UCF beat Tulane for the second time in three days to allow ECU to sneak into the CUSA Tournament as the sixth-seed.
As trying as it was to simply punch their ticket for the league tournament, the Pirates know they now have new life and the opportunity to earn the program’s 11th NCAA bid in the past 12 seasons.
The team with the best record in each pod will move into Saturday’s winner-take-all title game. Two-way ties will be decided by head-to-head results against your pod. If a three-way tie was to occur, the top-seed would advance to the title game.
Due to the emphasis being placed on pod games, East Carolina coach Billy Godwin is opting to reserve top starters Zach Woods and Seth Maness. Kevin Brandt and other top relievers will be held as well. Therefore, seldom-used Patrick Somers (1-1, 9.00) will get his first start after pitching 11 innings in 18 relief appearances to this point.
The Pirates were swept at Rice in late April, but had a chance to win games two and three after being blasted 20-3 on Friday night. Game two saw ECU ride a strong performance from Seth Maness into a 2-0 lead through 7.5, but Anthony Rendon’s three-run shot off Seth Simmons propelled the Owls to a 3-2 victory.
First-pitch for the Pirates and Owls is at 4 p.m. (EST) at The University of Houston’s Cougar Field.