ECU will get its first true test of the season when they travel to No. 10 Virginia for a three-game series. Both teams enter the weekend riding stellar pitching as the Pirates boast an impressive 1.00 ERA, while the Cavaliers' hurlers have a 2.50 ERA.
East Carolina Pirates (3-0)
Probable Starting Rotation
Fri. - RHP Seth Maness (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Sat. - RHP Zach Woods (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sun. - RHP Mike Wright (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Virginia Cavaliers (4-0)
Probable Starting Rotation
Fri. - LHP Danny Hultzen (1-0, 1.35 ERA)
Sat. - RHP Tyler Wilson (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sun. - RHP Cody Winiarski (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
What to Expect:
After the first weekend of play, both ECU and UVa enter the three-game series undefeated and riding the experience of their pitching staffs ... The Pirates allowed just three runs over the weekend against Youngstown State with their starters (Maness, Woods and Wright) surrendering just one run (earned) over 17.0 innings ... UVa counters with a stellar staff of their own as the starting trio of Hultzen, Wilson and Winiarski allowed one run in 18.2 innings at the Auburn Tournament.
All-Americans Highlight Friday's Action:
Friday's game will pit a pair of preseason All-Americans against one another when Maness and Hultzen toe the rubber ... Maness, a 2008 All-American, enters the contest with a 29-8 career mark with a 4.10 ERA, while Hultzen, a two-time All-American, owns a 21-2 career mark ... The two faced one another last year back in Greenville, N.C. with Hultzen notching the win after allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits in six innings ... Maness suffered the loss after surrendering four runs (all earned) on six hits in 5.2 innings ... Both enter the contest ranked in the Top-10 among NCAA career active winners with Maness listed first and Hultzen tied for ninth.
Difference Makers At the Plate:
Chris Taylor has stepped into a starting role for Virginia and flourished thus far, going 7-for-17 (.412) with a team-high seven runs scored out of the leadoff spot ... David Coleman has made a strong return to the lineup with five hits in 11 at bats (.455) - he already has matched his hit total from all of 2010 ... For the Pirates, Corey Thompson has picked up where his 2010 all-conference ended hitting .400 (4-for-10) with a pair of doubles and four RBI ... Philip Clark and Tim Younger are batting .375 and have combined for five RBI and three runs scored.
Keys to the Game:
For the Pirates to be successful this weekend they need John Wooten and Zach Wright's bats to heat up ... The 4-5 hitters in ECU's lineup batted .250 last weekend, drove in a pair of runs and scored five times ... ECU needs to be patient at the plate and hope to get into the Cavaliers bullpen, where a year ago they scored nine of their 19 runs against the Cavaliers ... UVa will ride look to ride their starters to a series win ... Wilson, a reliever in 2010, shutdown a talented Auburn squad last weekend striking out six, walking two and allowing three hits in six shutout innings ... Winiarski was equally effective working six shutout frames with six strikeouts and surrendering four hits.
Playing Small Ball:
With run production down across the country, this weekend's series should be low-scoring, especially with two veteran pitching staffs going head-to-head, so expect small ball to play an important role in the series ... Both teams have shown tendencies to use the bunt and move runners over efficiently with ECU using four sacrifice hits and stealing seven bases in their three-game series ... UVa has swiped five bases and used six sac bunts through four games.
The series this weekend is the back end of a home-and-home series between the teams ... UVa opened the 2010 season in Greenville and won two of three games in an entertaining series - all three games rank among the top 11 attended games in ECU program history ... Steven Proscia hit .400 (4-for-10) with a double, home run and six RBI in the series for UVa, while Wooten batted .375 (3-for-8) with two home runs, four RBI and scored three runs for the Pirates.