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Weekend Preview: East Carolina vs. Stony Brook (Mar. 2-4)

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After dropping two of three contests in last weekend's Keith LeClair Classic, the Pirates (5-2) look to revert back to their winning ways as they welcome Stony Brook to Greenville on Friday.

SBU enters the contest with a perfect 4-0 record after dispatching Alabama State (twice) and Nicholls State (twice) to begin the 2012 campaign.

Here's some insight into the series...

 Stony Brook Notes:

- The visitors from New York last qualified for NCAA postseason play in 2010. They defeated N.C. State in an elimination game, but dropped a pair of contests to host Coastal Carolina in the Myrtle Beach Regional.

- Last year, SBU won a school-record 42 games. Head coach Matt Senk was awarded America East Coach-of-the-Year after his squad captured the league's regular season title.

- Designated hitter/third baseman Willie Carmona was named First Team All-America by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and won the conference's Player-of-the-Year award after hitting .357 while setting the school record with 80 hits and 27 doubles. His 27 two-baggers ranked third nationally. Thus far in 2012, Carmona is batting .267 with a home run and four RBIs.

- The Seawolves enter Friday's contest having committed just three errors through four games.

Probable Pitching Starters:

- Friday - RHP Tyler Johnson: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (one earned), 2 BB, 3 K

- Saturday - RHP Brandon McNitt: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R (both earned), 1 BB, 5 K

- Sunday - RHP Evan Stecko-Haley: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K

- SBU's bullpen is solidified by backend man Frankie Vanderka. In two appearances, he has tossed five shutout innings while giving up just a pair of base hits and striking out five.

Leading Hitters:

- Max Tissenbaum - .429 BA, 2 2B

- Travis Jankowski - .400 BA, 2 2B, 5 R

- Kevin Krause - .333 BA, HR, 2 RBI

East Carolina Notes:

- East Carolina dropped a pair of contests in last weekend's round-robin tournament: Purdue (6-4) and Maryland (2-1). The setbacks were sandwiched around a 3-1 victory over Western Carolina in which senior catcher Zach Wright laced a game-winning, two-run double in the sixth inning.

- The Pirates are 4-0 in the all-time series against SBU, a ledger which includes a three-game sweep in March 2006 and an 8-2 victory over the Seawolves in the 2004 NCAA Kinston Regional.

- The Pirates own a 13-1 record all-time against teams from the America East Conference.

- Zach Wright and Kevin Brandt will reunite with Stony Brook's Travis Jankowski and Pat Cantwell as they were teammates for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod Baseball League. 

- The bullpen has been nothing short of spectacular through seven games. The relievers have given up two runs (one earned) on 14 hits while walking just nine and striking out 27 in 25 2/3 frames. The 'pen sports an astounding 0.35 ERA.

Probable Pitching Starters:

- Friday - LHP Kevin Brandt: 1-1, 1.98 ERA, 13 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 13 K

- Saturday - LHP Tyler Joyner: 2-0, 0.77 ERA, 11.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (one relief appearance)

- Sunday - RHP Jharel Cotton: 1-0, 1.74 ERA, 10 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

Top Relievers:

- Tanner Merritt: 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (unearned), 2 BB, 6 K

- Jeff Hoffman: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

- Drew Reynolds: 0-0 (3 SV), 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

- Andy Smithmyer: 1-0, 1.42 ERA, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R (earned), 1 BB, 8 K 

Leading Hitters:

- Tim Younger is leading the team offensively with a .550 batting average. The senior second baseman has four RBIs.

- Corey Thompson is batting .462 and leads the team in hits (12) and RBIs (8). He is one of three Pirates with a pair of home runs (Jack Reinheimer and John Wooten also have two). The Apex, N.C., native is currently ranked fourth on the Perfect Game positional rankings for third basemen.

- Wooten enters this weekend's three-game set batting at a .318 clip. He has scored a team-high eight runs while driving in five.

Check out the '10th Inning' after each contest for news and notes as the Pirates clash with Stony Brook. 

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