After dropping only its second weekend series of the 2012 campaign, No. 27 East Carolina (27-13-1) hits the road for its lone midweek contest on Wednesday for a matchup with in-state foe No. 10 North Carolina.
The Pirates dropped Friday's contest against No. 7 Rice, 2-0, and were able to collect just one hit against All-American right-hander Matthew Reckling. ECU held 1-0 and 2-1 leads in Saturday afternoon's tilt, but Rice knotted the score in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out home run and claimed a 6-2 decision with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th. Junior Jharel Cotton picked up his conference-best seventh win of the season in Sunday's series finale as the Pirates managed to avoid a sweep with a 4-3 victory. Drew Reynolds collected his eighth save of the season.
No. 10 North Carolina (29-13) dropped its second Atlantic Coast Conference series of the year by suffering a pair of setbacks at the hands of Georgia Tech last weekend in Chapel Hill. The Yellow Jackets beat the Tar Heels, 11-4, in Friday's opener. UNC evened the set at one game apiece with a convincing 12-6 victory in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, but was defeated in the rubber game in the nightcap, 4-2. UNC enters Wednesday's contest on a two-game losing streak after UNC Greensboro knocked off the Heels Tuesday evening, 8-4.
Here are more news and notes for Wednesday's matchup...
- Series Notes: UNC owns a 48-25 edge in the all-time series, which began in 1958. The Tar Heels have won four straight over ECU, including a pair of victories in 2011. The Pirates have not recorded a victory over North Carolina in Chapel Hill since 1994 - Carolina owns a 28-7 all-time record over East Carolina in games played in Chapel Hill.
- Probable Pitching Starters:
Due to exam week and North Carolina's upcoming "bye" weekend, the Tar Heels will start their usual Friday night hurler, LHP Kent Emanuel. Emanuel has once again put together an outstanding year, compiling a 5-3 record and 2.24 ERA. In 64 1/3 innings of work, the southpaw has surrendered 23 runs (16 earned) on 60 hits while walking 15 and striking out 61. He is holding opponents to a composite .250 batting average.
East Carolina will counter with freshman right-hander Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman will make his sixth start of the season and is looking to rebound from his roughest start of the year a week ago against UNC Wilmington. The Latham, N.Y., native yielded six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 frames. He did see action this past weekend at Rice and allowed a run in 1 2/3 stanzas. He sports a 1-1 record and 2.79 ERA.
- North Carolina Leading Hitters:
*Colin Moran (started the first 22 games, hasn't played since due to arm injury): .389, 35 H, 17 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 24 RBI
Michael Russell: .307, 46 H, 28 R, 10 2B, 18 RBI
Tom Zengel: .306, 26 H, 18 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 18 RBI
Jacob Stallings: .288, 46 H, 32 R, 16 2B, 4 HR, 29 RBI
- East Carolina Leading Hitters:
Drew Reynolds: .353, 47 H, 6 2B, 2 HR, 17 RBI
Tim Younger: .343, 46 H, 28 R, 7 2B, 21 RBI
John Wooten: .323, 51 H, 34 R, 5 2B, 7 HR, 26 RBI
Jay Cannon: .320, 39 H, 26 R, 6 2B, 2 HR, 20 RBI
Zach Wright: .301, 41 H, 28 R, 8 2B, 3 HR, 26 RBI
Corey Thompson: .299, 47 H, 28 R, 8 2B, 4 HR, 27 RBI
Check out the '10th Inning' following Wednesday night's contest for additional coverage. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EST).