May 22, 2013
|East Carolina vs. Southern Miss
May 25, 2013 | 8 p.m. (ET)
RADIO: WNCT 1070 AM
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE GAME
ECU enters championship play as the No. 3 seed and will take on No. 6 seed Houston on Thursday, May 23 ... The Pirates closed out the regular season winning 15 of their last 21 games, which included six-straight league series ... ECU owns an 18-18 all-time record in the C-USA Championships and sports a 2-1 record as the third seed (last was in 2011) ... Houston comes into the series having won 8 of its last 11 games including three-straight C-USA series ... Ironically the last time the Cougars garnered a No. 6 seed was in 2011 when the Pirates were No. 3 ... While ECU holds a commanding 22-10-1 all-time record between the two schools, Houston is riding a three-game winning streak thanks to its series sweep during the opening weekend of C-USA play back in mid-March.
NCAA REGIONAL BID ON THE LINE
Heading into this weekend, the Pirates sport a 30-24 overall record and an RPI of 74, according to the NCAA ... If the Pirates are to make their 27th NCAA Regional Appearance (13 in the last 15 years), they will likely have to win the C-USA Championship, something they have done just once in 11 years as a baseball member institution (2002).
SIX PIRATES EARN ALL-CONFERENCE USA HONORS
Prior to the start of the C-USA Championships, six Pirates took home All C-USA honors ... McDonald and Drew Reynolds were named first-teamers and extended ECU's streak of having at least one player selected to 10-straight years (2004-present) ... Jeff Hoffman, Zach Houchins and David Lucroy took home second-team honors, while Travis Watkins joined Lucroy as all-freshman selections.
ODDS AND ENDS
ECU has won 8 of its last 10 road games, which included series wins at UAB (sweep) and Marshall ... McDonald leads league with home runs (11), RBI (45) and slugging percentage (.528) ... Eight of his 11 homers have been in league play with five in the last nine games ... Houchins, who saw his 13-game hitting streak come to an end in the regular season finale against UCF, currently ranks among the league leaders in doubles (2nd/18), slugging percentage (4th/.514), RBI (t6th/38) and home runs (9th/5) ... During his streak he batted .471 (24-for-51) with nine doubles, 15 RBI, 12 runs and six multi-hit games ... Houchins also leads the club with 25 extra base hits (5 HRs, 18 doubles, 2 triples), while Dylan Brown is second with 15 (3 HRs, 10 doubles, 2 triples) ... Luke Lowery (four), Jay Cannon (three), Brown (three) and Ben Fultz (three) also have multi-homers on the year ... Drew Reynolds saw his personal-best 14-game hitting streak come to an end in the series finale at Marshall after going 0-for-5 ... During the streak he batted .450 (27-for-60) with seven doubles, 10 RBI, 13 runs and 10 multi-hit games ... In league games, he batted .361 (35-for-97) ranking third ... On the mound he finished tied for first in saves (13) and games finished (23) ... Reynolds converted 13 of 17 opportunities posting a 3-2 record with a 2.79 ERA ... Senior Bryan Bass has recorded a hit in 25 of his last 29 games, which included a season-high 10 game hit streak (snapped at UAB) ... He ranks second on the team with 18 multi-hit games.
The Pirates lead the league in total bases (710) and at-bats (1851), while ranking second in average (.276), slugging percentage (.384), hits (510) and home runs (33) ... ECU also ranked fourth in runs (274) and RBI (249) ... On the flipside, ECU ranks towards the bottom of the league in ERA (3.98/7th), strikeouts (364/7th), runs allowed (260/7th) and opposing batting average (.263/7th).
At the close of the regular season, the Pirates allowed 302 free bases to opponents (215 walks, 87 hit batters), which leads C-USA ... ECU has outscored its opponents 274-260.
Sophomore Jeff Hoffman was named to the midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List on May 2, which is given to the top amateur player ... He is one of 10 underclassmen and one of three C-USA pitchers on the list.
Travis Watkins was one of 15 catchers added to the official watch list for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com and the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission on April 9 ... The Bench Award, which is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, is a rolling list that will be updated to include other candidate until May of 2013 ... Watkins, who is the lone freshman on the 62-player list, has started 31 of 38 games behind the plate and is ranks among the team leaders with a .277 average heading into its weekend series against Southern Miss ... A native of Concord, N.C., Watkins is the fifth catcher in program history to be named to the watch list following Jake Smith (2006 winner), Corey Kemp (2007-08 semifinalist), Jared Avchen (2010) and Zach Wright (2010-12).
PIRATES EARN PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK HONORS
Chase McDonald earned his first career Hitter-of-the-Week honors after his productive performances at the plate led the Pirates to a 3-1 week, including a C-USA series victory over first place Southern Miss over the weekend ... McDonald batted a team-best .500 (8-for-16) with two home runs, a double, six RBI, five runs scored and added three walks and a hit by pitch ... In four games on the week, McDonald posted at least one hit, drove in at least one run and scored at least one run. He recorded three multi-hit and two multi-RBI games on the week.
Junior Drew Reynolds became the third Pirate hurler to take home Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week honors with his selection on Apr. 15 ... He notched a pair of wins over the weekend helping ECU to a series win on the road at Tulane ... Reynolds, who improved to 3-1 on the season, earned his first victory Friday night in the Pirates' 3-2 win in 13 innings ... The right-hander tossed 3.1 perfect innings of relief, tying his career-high in strikeouts with six - the same number that starter Jeff Hoffman had in his 9.2 innings of work ... He picked up the series-clinching win Sunday, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings where he struck out two in ECU's 4-2 victory ... In two games on the weekend, he tallied 5.0 scoreless frames with eight punch-outs and two walks.
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.
Thursday vs. Houston: Houston 9, East Carolina 4 (Final)
Friday vs. Tulane: Tulane 6, East Carolina 5 (Final)
Saturday: TBD vs. Ryan Williams (RHP, 6-2, 4.28 ERA)
PIRATES TO WATCH
Hoffman Notes: Midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List (May 2) ... Leads staff with 11 quality starts ... 13th pitcher in C-USA history to work 9-plus innings in a game (9.2 at Tulane/Apr. 12) ... Picked league wins vs. UAB, USM, MAR ... Suffered C-USA losses vs. Houston, Rice, Memphis and UCF ... No decision at Tulane ... Worked into the seventh inning in 12 of 14 starts (eighth inning eight times) ... Ranks among league leaders in IP (104.1/2nd) and strikeouts (81/t8th) ...Allowed three or fewer runs in 11 starts ... Fanned five or more batters 11 times with a season-high nine against Illinois and Rice ... Named C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Week (4/1) after tossing complete game, one-hit shutout against NCCU (3/29) ... Other wins Illinois, St. John's and NCCU.
Lucroy Notes: Started 13 of 14 games ... Leads the team and ranks among the C-USA leaders in fewest hits (2nd/46), opp. BA (.190/2nd), fewest runs (28/t4th), ER runs (21/5th), and ERA (2.70/10th) ... Recorded first C-USA win at UAB (4/20) giving up one run in 6.1 IP with six strikeouts ... Allowed two runs against Rice in seven innings ... Posted wins against St. John's (3/3), Monmouth (3/10) and Jacksonville (3/17) ... Named C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Week (3/11) after tossing a two-hit complete game shutout with a career-best 12 strikeouts against Monmouth ... Five scoreless innings in first collegiate start vs. NMSU (Feb. 25) allowing three hits with three strikeouts ... Collegiate debut vs. No. 25 UVA ... Struck out 11 at Marshall (5/11) in 5.2 innings ... Fanned five or more batters nine times ... Has seven quality starts on the season.
Williams Notes: Tied with Hoffman for the team lead in wins (six), while ranking second in fewest walks (16) and 11th in C-USA ... Appeared in 16 games making 14 starts ... Picked up wins in relief at Elon (3/27) and at Gardner-Webb (4/30) ... Worked at least six full innings in eight starts ... Allowed three or fewer runs in seven starts ... Fanned five or more four times with a season-high seven at Elon in relief ... Picked up additional wins against Boston College (2/22), St. John's (3/2), Monmouth (3/9) and at Jacksonville (3/16) ... Suffered losses at Houston (3/23) and NC State (4/2) ... Bullpen work at Campbell (3/13) along with Elon and Gardner-Webb ... First win of ECU career vs. BC in the Keith LeClair Classic where he allowed a run with five strikeouts ... Has five quality starts.
ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin owns a career record of 545-271-1 in 14 seasons as a skipper ... At ECU he is 283-186-1 ... His 283 wins trails only ECU Hall of Famer Dr. Gary Overton, who amassed 427 wins in 13 years (1985-1997) as the Pirates' skipper.