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Weekend Preview: No. 24 East Carolina at Memphis

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No. 24 East Carolina (23-9-1, 6-2-1 Conference USA) hits the road for a league series at Memphis (15-18, 5-4) beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. (EST).

The Pirates and Tigers will jockey for position in the top-half of the conference standings as Memphis drastically improved its place with a sweep last weekend against Marshall.

Both clubs are coming off midweek losses as ECU dropped a 3-2 decision against Old Dominion while Arkansas State handed UM a 4-2 loss Wednesday night.

Here's more insight into this weekend's three-game set...

Meeting Memphis

- This is the fourth league series of the year for the Tigers. Memphis dropped its C-USA opening set with Rice as the Owls took two-of-three and Tulane also claimed a 2-1 series win over Memphis. UM responded with a convincing sweep over the Thundering Herd last weekend.

- Southpaw Sam Moll continued his torrid stretch on the mound with a complete-game, one-hit performance against Marshall last Saturday, earning the lefty NCBWA National Pitcher-of-the-Week honors as well as being dubbed the top hurler in C-USA for the week. Incidentally, East Carolina and Memphis both feature players who currently hold the league's top honors (hitter and pitcher) as Tim Younger is the reigning C-USA Hitter-of-the-Week.

- In Moll's last four starts, he has tossed 30 2/3 frames, surrendering just one earned run and 13 hits. He will get the starting nod on Saturday sporting a 3-3 record and impressive 2.25 ERA.

- After a slow start to the 2012 campaign, slugger T.J, Rich is now one of the league's hottest hitters. He has recorded 14 hits in his last nine contests and raised his batting average 50 points to .286.

- The Tigers are paced offensively by Adam McClain, who is batting .406 with a team-best 52 hits and is tied for team-lead with 10 doubles. He has also clubbed two home runs and has collected 24 RBI.

- Eli Hynes (.336 BA, 44 H, 24 R) has also recorded 10 two-baggers (Memphis leads the league in doubles) and has belted a club-best nine homers while posting 34 RBI.

- Jacob Wilson leads the team with 35 RBI while batting .313 and tallying nine doubles. He has seven round-trippers and has a Tiger second-best 42 hits while also adding 22 runs.

East Carolina Notes

- The Pirates are coming off a midweek loss against Old Dominion. The Pirates had the potential game-winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to solve ODU closer Dean Ali and eventually fell to the Monarchs, 3-2.

- ECU is looking to win its third consecutive Conference USA series after dropping its opening set against UCF while bouncing back with series win over UAB (sweep) and Houston (2-0-1). East Carolina and UCF remain the only two clubs in the league to have just two losses in league play.

- Tim Younger leads the club with a .361 batting average while driving in 18 runs and plating 23.

- Designated hitter and closer Drew Reynolds had his 11-game hit streak snapped Wednesday against Old Dominion, but still ranks second on the squad with a .350 batting clip. He also leads C-USA with seven saves on the mound.

- John Wooten leads the Pirates in several offensive categories including hits (41), runs (28) and home runs (6). He ranks third on the club with a .325 average.

- Corey Thompson is batting .305 and leads ECU with 26 RBI while posting 26 RBI, the most of any roster member. His four round-trippers trail only Wooten's six.

- After a slow start, Zach Wright is swinging one of the hottest bats on the team, raising his average to .295 while driving in 24 runs, the second most of any Pirate. He is also tied for the team-lead with seven doubles (Thompson).

- Junior college transfer Jay Cannon has continued his impressive initial season in an ECU uniform as the outfielder is batting .323 with 18 RBI while collecting 32 hits and scoring 22 times.

Probable Pitching Starters

- Friday: LHP Kevin Brandt (ECU) - 4-2, 1.98 ERA vs. RHP Dan Langfield (Memphis) - 5-3, 2.96 ERA

- Saturday: LHP Tyler Joyner (ECU) 5-0, 2.47 ERA vs. LHP Sam Moll (Memphis) - 3-3, 2.25 ERA

- Sunday: RHP Jharel Cotton (ECU) - 5-0, 2.76 ERA vs. RHP Chase Joiner (Memphis) - 2-3, 4.25 ERA

Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (EST). Saturday's game will begin at 3 p.m. (EST) while Sunday's series finale is set for 2 p.m. (EST). Check out the '10th Inning' all weekend as we provide further coverage of the set as the Pirates look to finish the weekend sitting alone atop the Conference USA standings.

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