Cliff Godwin Recaps The Events Of Last Week and Previews UCF
With a nine game win streak on the line, (8)East Carolina swings back into action Friday afternoon at 1 o’clock when UCF comes to town for a four-game AAC series in Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates are riding a 26-5 overall record including 22-1 at home.
After a two-week wait and not playing last weekend after traveling to Houston due to Covid-19 issues within the Cougars program, ECU is chomping at the bit to get back into action.
Cliff Godwin says his team found out something was cooking in Houston when they landed in Atlanta so they continued on to Houston as the process continued before finding out definitively that the Pirates would not be playing the Cougars. The team scrimmaged there instead before taking in a meal at Ragin Caguns and had another scrimmage in Greenville upon returning.
“It was one of those things when we landed in Atlanta, we found out that they had a possible positive. Obviously when you’re at East Carolina you don’t get to fly from Greenville so we had to leave here at 7:30 on a bus and drive to Raleigh. We went from Raleigh to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Houston,” said Godwin, “We are in the Atlanta airport and find out that they are doing rapid PCR’s and they do them on Thursday morning. Not real sure why but that’s what the conference said they could do. They did the same thing the weekend before when they went to Wichita State. So they retested him and then sent him to the hospital to get a real PCR so we had no other choice but to go to Houston because we were kind of in limbo.”
“Normally when you have just one positive you think that at minimum you’re going to be able to play two or three games if not four because you would think that the contact tracing wouldn’t knock out everybody. So at practice on Thursday night we had a great practice and I was on my cell phone trying to figure out what the heck was going on,” Godwin stated, “About the time we got done with practice we found out that the medical advisory group with The American and the AD’s and whoever else was on that committee decided that we shouldn’t play because they contact traced a bunch of their pitchers from going into the weight room.”
The Pirates then scrambled to find some flights before Monday at 2 am when were originally scheduled to land back in Greenville.
“We were able to do that so we scrimmaged on Friday and it was just okay scrimmage wise. We got back Saturday, we scrimmaged on Sunday which was probably the best scrimmage we’ve had the entire year so the guys did a really good job on Sunday,” said Godwin, “I told our guys the good news is we’re together and we can get better during this situation.”
Godwin says while it is unlikely the games with Houston will be made up, he found positives in the way the weekend worked out and is hopeful that it will have worked to the Pirates’ advantage as the team readies for the Knights on Friday.
“We’ll find out this weekend won’t we,” Godwin told PirateIllustrated.com, “I think our guys did a good job and we got better on Sunday and I don’t know if you could have put another competitive two teams out there, we had them split up pretty evenly. It was really competitive. We’ve got Matt Bridges managing one team and Cam Colmore the other one. Bridgy’s team won on a walk-off single by Josh Moylan in seven innings so you can’t draw up moments like that and that was good to be in those competitive situations.”
“You think about all the young guys who got six, seven, eight at-bats during these two scrimmages that we’ve had and play defense and get some of the pitchers a lighter weekend. Bridgy and Cam just threw one inning on Friday. Of course Gavin went four so we just wanted to manage that. I think it was a blessing in disguise. You can look at hey we didn’t want to fly out there to just scrimmage but at the end of the day we were able to practice twice on a completely turf field which will hopefully help us when we go to Wichita State.”
At 8-0 in American Athletic Conference play, the Pirates are being chased by Tulane that at 6-1 in league play took four straight against Wichita State last weekend to slide into sole possession of second place. The Shockers now stand at 7-5 with UCF right behind them at 7-4 heading into the weekend.
The Pirates have put a bid in to host NCAA regional action but Godwin cautioned not to get the cart ahead of the horse.
“We could tank this thing on the way down and not have to worry about hosting a regional. You’ve got to put bids in but It’s a premature thing to talk about it because if you have a couple of bad weekends and you’re going to not be worried about hosting but hopefully just trying into get in a regional.”
The Knights come in with a 17-19 record overall including 11-11 on the road, having won six of their last nine games. UCF took three straight against USF last weekend at home before getting clobbered 11-1 on Sunday by the Bulls and they have the full attention of ECU heading into this weekend.
Colton Gordon threw seven scoreless innings in game one, fanning seven Bulls. Zack Hunsicker then came on to pitch two scoreless innings to seal the victory for the Knights. Gordon is a player that Godwin likes and ECU even recruited him before he eventually landed in Orlando. He is this week’s AAC Pitcher of the Week and is the likely starter on Friday when the Pirates take on the Knights.
“I know a couple of things. They went on the road to Ole Miss when Ole Miss was number one in the country and beat them two out of three,” Godwin told PirateIllustrated.com, “They actually should have swept Ole Miss. I think Ole Miss had to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat them in the one game. They’ve got a real dude on Friday night in Colton Gordon. We actually recruited him and he picked UCF over us and was Pitcher of the Week this past week and he’s a real dude. There will be a lot of professional scouts here on Friday to see that matchup between Gordon and Williams. I’m assuming that he’s going to go game one because that’s who I would throw if I was them because he’s pretty good.”
“We’ll have our hands full with them because they’re good. I can’t keep saying it enough, it doesn’t matter what the record is, they’re talented and if we don’t play well we’ll get beat.”
Catch Coach Godwin's comments in their entirety and stay tuned all weekend as coverage of ECU - UCF continues here on PirateIllustrated.com.