East Carolina baseball had a chance to see where it stands three months out of the Feb. 13 season opener versus Virginia. The Pirates split into two teams for a Purple-Gold World Series in Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The series opened Thursday. Gold dominated the first game with a 16-6 decision. Travis Watkins helped open the game up in the third inning as he plated three runs with a triple. Gold ended up sending out 17 batters for a 13-run inning.
Purple rallied back to level the series on Friday. They were down 3-0 heading into the fifth inning with the bases loaded and scored their first run when pitcher Reid Love walked it in. Gold made a call to the bullpen and brought in Jacob Wolfe, who walked in another run. Purple scored a total of six runs that inning en route to a 6-4 win.
The two sides met again for a series-deciding third game on Saturday. Pitchers Joe Ingle and Jimmy Boyd surrendered just two hits as Gold shut Purple out for all six innings for the 2-0 victory.
Boyd, who played well all weekend, helped provide the deciding run in the first inning. He reached on a fielder’s choice as Parker Lamm was able to score from third.
“We had all that energy as a team. Everybody was energetic and energy is contagious,” Boyd said of his performance over the course of the series. “I guess that’s just one of the things. We come out here and practice every day and we work hard. Hard work translates in the game.”
Boyd was all smiles after taking Game 3. Not only was it a more energetic atmosphere he was used to playing JUCO at Brunswick, but first-year manager Cliff Godwin gave the two teams something to fight for. Boyd was able to take a breather after the game while the Purple squad had to run a mile for losing the series.
Godwin was impressed with what he saw from Boyd throughout the series, saying that if he had to give out an MVP trophy, it would go to him. Now with just over three months before ECU’s first game, he’s hoping Boyd will continue to develop as he has been.
“I’m looking for Jimmy to keep playing aggressive,” said Godwin. “The best thing about Jimmy Boyd is he’s not scared. He goes out and competes and gets after it…He looks like he belongs and I’m really proud of him. Where he was on Day 1 when he stepped foot on campus to right now is a different guy.”
Purple and Gold each had a pair of errors in Game 1. The last two games were cleaner as both sides combined for four errors. Even so, Godwin isn’t too concerned about the team’s defensive discipline.
“We’re not deep,” said Godwin about some of the errors the teams had. “So, when you split the teams up, defensively, we’ve got some catchers playing third base and a third baseman playing second base. When we split them up, we’re not deep defensively. But, once we put our nine guys out there, we’ll be better defensively.”
On the offensive end of the game, the Pirates showed plenty of promise. Purple and Gold combined for 34 runs over the course of the three-game series.
The opportunity to play a in a game-like scenario should prove to be valuable come the spring. With a new coach and plenty of new faces on the roster, it gives ECU a chance better see what it will have to work with.
“You’re looking for guys to get under the lights,” said Godwin. “There’s 200 or 300 people in the stands and there’s going to be 3,000 to 4,000 in the spring. If you can’t pitch in front of 200 or 300, you’re not going to be able to in front of 3,000 or 4,000. It’s good for them to split up into teams and go after it and know something’s on the line.”