Baseball Games 30-32: No. 18 Rice at East Carolina
April 4, 2013
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE GAME
ODDS AND ENDS
Both the Owls and the Pirates stand atop the league in batting average heading into Friday's contest ... Rice leads C-USA with a .277 average, while ECU is tied with Houston at .276 ... On the flip side of things, the two pitching staffs are on opposite ends of the rankings ... Rice is second in ERA (2.88) and opposing batting average (.231), while ECU is last in both stat categories (4.79 ERA, .280 opposing batting average).
Through 29 games this season, the Pirates have allowed 174 free bases to opponents (137 walks, 47 hit batters), which leads Conference USA ... ECU has been outscored by its opponents 157-153.
Sophomore Jeff Hoffman earned ECU's second Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week honor on Monday following his complete game, one-hit shutout against N.C. Central ... Hoffman struck out seven batters, walked three and hit a pair in his first career complete game ... He allowed just two runners to reach scoring position and retired 27 of 32 batters faces, including nine of the final 10 to pick up his third win of the season ... It was the Pirates' first one-hit complete game shutout since Ricky Brooks' gem against Charlotte back on March 26, 2006 ... This was Hoffman's second career weekly honor from C-USA following his 10-strikeout performance at Elon (Apr. 10, 2012) in eight shutout frames.
Redshirt freshman David Lucroy earned his first Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week honors after tossing a two-hit complete game shutout against Monmouth (Mar. 10) in the series clinching win ... The right-hander struck out a career-high 12 batters with nine going down swinging ... It was the first complete game shutout since Seth Maness' 4-0 win over Southern Miss in the 2011 Conference USA Championships.
Nine first year players have seen action on the diamond this season through 28 games ... If you include players that redshirted during their first year in the Pirate program (2012 season), then 12 newcomers have stepped on the field during the regular season.
PIRATES TO WATCH
Lucroy Notes: Appeared in seven games making six starts ... Leads the team and ranks among the C-USA leaders in opposing batting average (.179/2nd), fewest ER runs (8/7th), ERA (2.10/9th) and strikeouts (39/10th) ... Recorded wins against St. John's, Monmouth and Jacksonville ... Allowed just eight runs on 20 hits in 34.1 innings ... Named C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Week (Mar. 11) after tossing a two-hit complete game shutout with a career-best 12 strikeouts against Monmouth ... Picked up first collegiate win against St. John's (Mar. 3) fanning nine in 6.1 IP ... Allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits with three walks ... Five scoreless IP in his first collegiate start vs. NMSU (Feb. 25) allowing three hits with three walks and three strikeouts ... Collegiate debut vs. No. 25 UVA ... Has four quality starts on the season.
Houchins batted .467 (7-for-15) with a team-best five RBI and 12 total bases to go along with his three runs scored during ECU's 3-1 week ... He recorded a pair of game-winning RBI (Elon, NCCU), had an extra base hit in 3 of 4 contests, posted a pair of multi-hit games and had at least one base knock in all four contests during the Pirates 3-1 week ... Against William & Mary he was 1-for-3 with a double ... At in-state rival Elon, he collected a pair of hits after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth ... During that at-bat, with the game tied at four, Houchins delivered a two-RBI double off the wall in left center scoring Luke Lowery and Bryan Bass giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead - which they would never relinquish ... Later in the game he recorded his third RBI of the afternoon with an RBI single through the left side in the ninth scoring Bass ... Houchins followed that game with a 3-for-4 performance against N.C. Central coming a homer shy of hitting for the cycle ... In his first at-bat he laced an RBI double to left field scoring Dylan Brown for a 1-0 ECU lead (game-winning hit) ... He followed that with and RBI triple to right center in the third plating Jay Cannon ... In the fourth frame he singled to left center and came 10 feet short of hitting for the cycle when he flied out to deep center in the sixth ... To wrap up the week, Houchins went 1-for-5 on the road at NCCU with a single and a run scored in the first inning at the historic Durham Athletic Park ... On the season he is batting .278 (20-for-72) with seven doubles, triple, two home runs, 18 RBI and 15 runs scored.
ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin owns a career record of 529-262-1 in 14 season as a skipper ... At ECU he is 267-177-1 ... His 267 wins trails only ECU Hall of Famer Dr. Gary Overton, who amassed 427 wins in 13 years (1985-1997) as the Pirates' skipper.