March 10, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina (17-6) plays its final non-league game Thursday against Maine (7-15) before entering Conference USA action this weekend. The Pirates host the Black Bears for a 7:00 p.m. single contest.
ECU Taking On Maine
The Pirates have won all three previous meetings with the Black Bears. The teams first met March 1, 2002, at the Dixie Classic with East Carolina winning 2-0. During the 2008 Pirate Invitational, ECU claimed a 7-1 win Feb. 15 and a 3-2 triumph Feb. 16.
In the 7-1 win, Jessica Johnson led the offense with three runs batted in while Cristen Aona had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. The next day, ECU fell behind 2-1 but came back with a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Charina Sumner and the winner in the sixth. Junior Suzanne Riggs, who entered as a pinch runner, scored the game-deciding run on a Vanessa Moreno single.
Offense Finding Its Groove
After beginning the season with a .150 batting average, three runs scored and two driven in during the initial five games of the year, the East Carolina offense has settled in. During the last 18 games, the Pirates have posted a .320 batting average, scored 96 runs and driven in 84. At the Red & Black Showcase, ECU averaged 0.6 runs per game, but has averaged 5.3 runs in the last 18 contests.
And Is The Best Since 2008
Not only as the Pirate offense put up big numbers in the last 18 games, the production has raised the team's numbers through 23 games to its highest levels since the 2008 campaign.
A Comeback Win
East Carolina trailed Northern Iowa 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning Saturday afternoon. The Pirates came back to win the contest 4-1, earning their first victory of the season when the opponent scores first. In the last two years, ECU is just 4-14 when the foe is the first on the board.
Two Is The Magic Number
So far in 2011, senior Toni Paisley and junior Faith Sutton have a combined ERA of 1.98. With opponents being held under two runs a game, when ECU reaches two runs on offense, the team has a 15-2 record. Since the beginning of the 2009 season, when the Pirate offense reaches two runs, the team is 81-12.
Lots Of Ks, Less BBs
Sutton and Paisley have combined to strike out 183 batters this season, but have walked just 28. The duo is averaging 8.0 whiffs per game, but just 1.2 walks a contest.