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LeClair Classic: East Carolina vs. Purdue Preview - Feb. 24, 2012

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East Carolina heads into this weekend's Keith LeClair Classic sporting a 4-0 record, its best start since the 2009 season.

This year's tournament features four teams (ECU, Western Carolina, Maryland and Purdue) with a combined 13-1 ledger. Maryland is the only team with a loss, but the Terrapins collected an impressive series win last weekend on the road against UCLA.

The Pirates square off against Purdue in today's second game. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.

Here's more insight into the contest... 

Purdue Notes

- The Boilermarkers comes into the game with a 3-0 record after picking up a trio of wins in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge last weekend. The Boilermarkers defeated UConn - which made a trip to the Super Regional in 2011 - on opening day.

- This is Purdue's first trip to the Carolinas since 2006 and first time playing East Carolina since 2000.

- The Boilers feature one of the most experienced rosters in the nation. They returned all nine positional starters from last year's 37-20 club. ECU lost just one positional starter from the 2011 squad.

- Baseball America and picked Purdue as their preseason favorites to capture the Big Ten crown. The Boilermakers were picked to finish second by the league coaches.

- Purdue has outscored its opponents 30-12 this season.

- Friday's Probable Starter: RHP Joe Haase. Haase got the nod on the mound in the season opener. He allowed four runs (all earned) on eight hits in five innings against UConn and received a no-decision.

Pirate Notes

- East Carolina has scored 36 runs in four games and its opponents have crossed the plate just eight times.

- Jharel Cotton, Tyler Joyner and Andy Smithmyer have recorded their first career wins on the mound as Pirates in 2012.

- In last year's LeClair Classic, ECU defeated Monmouth (4-3) and Rutgers (5-0) before dropping a 2-0 tilt against Liberty in the tourney finale. 

- East Carolina looks to win its fifth straight contest to begin the campaign. The Pirates have started the season 5-0 just once since 2005.

- ECU is ranked as high as No. 20 nationally (Perfect Game).

- The Pirate lineup has displayed its power in 2012, belting eight home runs in the first four contests after hitting just 37 in 62 games a year ago.

- Friday's Probable Starter: LHP Kevin Brandt. The southpaw tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in ECU's season-opening victory over Milwaukee. Brandt allowed just three hits and fanned nine batters.

Check out the '10th Inning' after today's matchup for postgame coverage.   

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