Once in the cellar of the Conference USA standings, the team currently sits in fourth place with room to progress even more in its final 10 games. But the path to the top will not be an easy one.
The Pirates start the stretch with a home game at Gardner-Webb, and if ECU is to lose one game in their next ten, it needs to be this one. The final nine games carry the utmost importance in regards to the Conference USA postseason tournament- the Pirates' only sure-fire shot at making it to regional play.
Nine of the team's final 10 games are against Conference USA opponents, including three-game home series against the top two conference teams at this point: Southern Miss and UCF, respectively.
In a year where there is no stand-alone team in the conference, this is ECU's chance to cement a postseason spot beyond the Conference USA Tournament. Series victories over Southern Miss and UCF would certainly make a statement, while at the very least jumping ECU past Rice for the number three spot in the conference.
At the very minimum, the Pirates need at least three combined wins over these two teams (in six total games played). Anything more than three would go towards placing ECU into some sort of regional play.
The remaining series, an away series against Marshall sandwiched between Southern Miss and UCF, needs to be dominated by the Pirates. Marshall is one of only two teams in the conference with a sub-.500 record.
A series loss here would drop ECU down a few spots in the conference standings, forcing them to face a top team in the conference tournament. Needless to say, that is not a situation to strive for pertaining to this Pirate baseball team.
A series win against Marshall, really a sweep, is necessary for a Pirate postseason run.
When all is said and done, ECU needs to finish this streak with seven to eight wins in its final 10 games. At the bare minimum six wins would suffice, if the wins came against the right opponents. The Pirates can afford to lose to Gardner-Webb, and a game or two against either Southern Miss or UCF, but any loss at this point will be a game ECU should have won.
Success in the postseason is possible for this year's Pirate baseball team, beyond the Conference USA tournament. But first, they have to get there.