Deb Phillips

After much hype and excitement in the offseason, ECU stumbles out of the gate; gets swept by Ole Miss

It was a weekend of being close, but not being able to close for the East Carolina Pirates. Though they were swept, they lost each game after being ahead or tied. Also, ECU was in a position to win all three games, so what happened?

This was certainly an inasupicious start for an ECU team that is ranked in the top 10 across the board and has had hopes of Omaha since their crushing lost last year, one game away from going to the College World Series. 

The season, and ECU's first lost, was on Friday. ECU started off as hot with a leadoff home run.The home run came courtesy of Dwanya Williams-Sutton after a lengthy at bat. You would think that when your lead off guy goes yard in his first at bat of the first game of the year, momentum would definitely be in your favor. However, that was not the case.

After that blip, Ole MIss' David Parkinson settled down and found his groove. Parkinson went on to retire 11 of the next 12 batters he faced, single handedly halting ECU's run production. On the night, Parkinson's stats were seven innings pitched, five strikeouts, and three earned runs.

Seven innings and 99 pitches later, and ECU found themselves stumped by reliever Will Stokes. Stokes was able to earn the two-inning save, solidifying a 5-4 win for Ole Miss.

Saturday was a great come-from-behind effort from the Rebels, as a series of late hits gave way to an Ole Miss victory. Though Ole Miss struck late, they were knocking on the door all game, and were able to put guys in scoring position early and often. However, they were unable to convert.

That was the story until Ole Miss found their offensive footing in the sixth inning. Rebels third baseman Colby Bortles hit a shot to left field that stayed fair for a home run. Then again in the seventh, with a runner on, Bortles dropped a bomb to center that was deep enough to allow Will Golsan to score the go- ahead run. Bortles second RBI proved to be the game winner, and secured a 3-2 win for Ole Miss.

Sunday's loss was once again the result of a late surge by a determined Ole Miss team. After producing six runs in the sixth inning, ECU seemed to be in the drivers seat and was going to avoid a season opening sweep.

After ECU put up four runs in the top of the sixth, Ole Miss countered with five of their own. Three words can describe Ole Miss' comeback: double, single, pass ball -- all of these things contributed to Ole Miss' comeback. Once Ole Miss took the lead, they never looked back, capping off the sweep with an 8-6 win. 

ECU looks to bounce back against Campbell University on Wednesday, Feb. 22. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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