April 4, 2013
|(18) Rice at East Carolina
Apr. 7, 2013 | 10 a.m. (ET)
RADIO: WNCT 1070 AM
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE GAME
ECU and Rice will meet for the 25th time between the two schools ... Rice holds a commanding 19-5 lead in the series taking 2-of-3 games a year ago in Houston ... The Pirates handed the Owls their first ever C-USA in their first league game back in 2006 taking a 4-3 victory at Reckling Park, but since then its been all Rice as they have won all seven series between the two schools ... The Owls enter weekend play ranked in all six major polls and have won 12 of its last 15 games ... ECU enters the series having won three of its last four contests and over the last 15 games own a 5-10 mark.
ODDS AND ENDS
ECU has had a power surge of late at the dish hitting 13 home runs in its last 14 games with a season-high four at Elon ... Chase McDonald leads the club with four homers, while Jay Cannon (three), Dylan Brown (two), Zach Houchins (two) and Luke Lowery (two) also have multi-homers on the year ... Brown and Houchins are tied for the team lead with 10 extra bases hits ... To go along with his two homers, Brown has six doubles and two triples, while Houchins has a team-best seven doubles and one triple with his two round trippers ... Cannon saw his 17-game streak of reaching base safely come to an end against No. 27 NC State after going 0-for-4 ... Freshman Travis Watkins leads the team with a .328 average and has recorded five multi-hit games ... Junior reliever Drew Reynolds ranks second in C-USA and leads ECU with six saves (6-for-7 in save opportunities) ... His 16 career saves moves him into a tie for third place on the school's all-time list with former All-American Greg Bunn (2002-04).
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.
Friday: Rice 3, East Carolina 0 (Final)
Saturday: East Carolina 3, Rice 2 (Final/13 inn.)
Sunday: John Simms (RHP, 4-2, 2.29 ERA) vs. TBD
PIRATES TO WATCH
Hoffman Notes: Named C-USA Co-Pitcher-of-the-Week (Apr. 1) after tossing complete game, one-hit shutout against N.C. Central (Mar. 29) where he had seven strikeouts in his third win ... Suffered losses at No. 28 Houston (Mar. 22), at Jacksonville (Mar. 15) and in the season opener against then No. 25 Virginia (Feb. 15) ... Recorded a no-decision against Monmouth (Mar. 8) after working eight full innings allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts ... Posted second win against St. John's (Mar.1) going seven full frames allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts ... Notched win against Illinois (Feb. 21) where he allowed just one run (earned) on six hits in 6.2 innings ... Fanned a season-high nine batters and recorded at least one punch out in four of six full frames including the side in the sixth ... Seven of his nine strikeouts were of the swinging kind including four in a row - all three in sixth and first batter of the seventh.
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.