Pirates Return East To Face Rival UNC
March 12, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Coming off a 10-day spring break trip through California and Arizona, East Carolina (10-13) plays its first game within the state since Feb. 20 with a trip to North Carolina (17-7) on Tuesday for a 5:00 p.m. first pitch. The rivals had played every year in Pirate program history until taking a two-year break in 2010 and 2011. It will be the first meeting since the Tar Heels claimed a 1-0 victory April 21, 2009, in Chapel Hill.
Sunday versus Valparaiso, ECU rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to top the Crusaders 5-3. After tying the game in the fourth inning, the Pirates scored three times in the top of the fifth to take the lead as sophomore Kristi Oshiro drove in classmate Rebecca Lee for the game-winning run. Freshman Sarah Christian earned the win, throwing the final four innings and limiting Valparaiso to four hits and one run. Oshiro, sophomore Jordan Lewis and senior Priscilla Velasquez each recorded two hits in the contest.
The Pirates Against The Tar Heels
The most recent contest had 12th-ranked UNC score in the bottom of the second and hold off the Pirates for the victory. Danielle Spaulding and Lisa Norris combined to allow just one hit, a single by Christina Merrida in the second inning, and strike out 13. UNC's Brittany Robinson drove in the only run on a two-out ground ball between Jessica Johnson at first and Charina Sumner at second. Sumner dove and stopped the ball, but Robinson beat the throw to first, allowing Ally Blake to score.
Holding Its Own Against In-State Foes
The Pirates will be looking to continue their recent success against teams from North Carolina as they have won 17 of the last 20 contests against in-state foes, outscoring them 111-23.
East Carolina defeated UNCG twice and Campbell once near the end of 2009 and went 11-0 versus Campbell, N.C. Central, UNCG, N.C. State, UNC Wilmington and Elon during the 2010 campaign. A year ago the Pirates split with UNC Wilmington, winning 8-0 and falling 2-1, topped Campbell 6-0 and dropped two games to N.C. State, 2-1 and 5-4 in 10 innings.
Where We Are 23 Games In
A year ago, ECU was 17-6 through 23 games, but had played just two ranked clubs. In 2010, when the schedule closely resembled this season's with five ranked squads in the first 23 contests, the group was 12-11. That unit featured junior pitcher Toni Paisley the year she earned All-America honors and the regular starting lineup had six seniors. This year's group has two freshman hurlers and seven underclassman starters.
A Grand Week
Small Stature, Big Swing
Oshiro finished the five games at the Diamond Devil Invitational with eight runs batted in after entering the weekend with two RBI this season. She led the squad with a .714 slugging percentage and scored four runs, bringing her season total to 19, good for seventh in Conference USA.
Home Runs All Around
The trio of homers gives East Carolina six in the last 10 games after going without a long ball for seven consecutive contests. In all, the Pirates have hit 10 home runs in 23 games, or an average of 0.43 home runs per contest. A year ago, the Pirates hit just 16 homers in 63 matchups, or 0.25 a tilt.
Watch Out, It's Getting Offensive
For the week, ECU averaged 6.0 runs, 8.2 hits and 1.8 stolen bases per game.
Sophomores On A Role