March 13, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina opened the Conference USA season Saturday with a doubleheader split against Memphis. The Pirates (19-7, 1-1 C-USA) look for the series victory Sunday with the 12:00 p.m. series finale against the Tigers (14-5, 1-1 C-USA).
Home Is Where The Wins Are
East Carolina returned home Thursday after a seven-game road trip and beat Maine 2-0. The Pirates continued their homestand Saturday winning the opener and dropping the second contest to Memphis. So far at the new ECU Softball Stadium, the Pirates are 12-2.
As a team, ECU is batting .317 at home with 73 runs scored and 66 batted in. The Pirates are averaging 5.2 runs per game while senior Toni Paisley and junior Faith Sutton have a combined earned run average of 1.20. Opponents have managed to score just 19 runs against the duo and are hitting only .153.
Brief And Successful Appearances
East Carolina has not been shy about using pinch hitters this season, registering 42 such at-bats. So far, the Pirates' substitute batters are hitting a combined .310 with 13 base hits. This is a dramatic improvement over the last two years as ECU's pinch hitters posted a combined .196 average with nine hits in 2010 and a .104 mark with five base knocks during the 2009 campaign.
Sharing The Load
East Carolina has collected 17 game-winning runs batted in this season, but no player has more than five. Junior Suzanne Riggs paces the Pirates with five while classmate Priscilla Velasquez and freshmen Jordan Lewis and Kristi Oshiro have three apiece. Freshman Alex Fieldhouse is close behind with two game-winning runs batted in.
The sharing is not limited to driving in the deciding run, though, as numerous players have picked up RBI in the last week. Since heading out to Tempe, Ariz., for the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational, nine of the 10 players with 10 or more at bats have driven in runs with Fieldhouse and sophomore Kai Clark's six leading the way.
Production With Two Down
Of ECU's 106 runs this season, 51 have scored when there are two outs. That amounts to 48.1 percent of the team's total. In the last week against Maryland, Maine and Memphis, the Pirates have pushed across nine of their 10 runs with two down.
A Comeback Win, Take One
East Carolina trailed Northern Iowa 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning last Saturday afternoon. The Pirates came back to win the contest 4-1, earning their first victory of the season when the opponent scored first. In the last two years, ECU is just 4-15 when the foe is the first on the board.
A Comeback Win, Take Two
The Pirates came through with another type of comeback win Wednesday in the opening contest against Maryland. After ECU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth, the Terrapins scored twice in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 advantage. East Carolina answered in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs and held on for a 3-2 victory. Entering the game, the Pirates were just 3-69 since the start of the 2007 season when trailing after six complete frames.
I'll Take The Fifth
For the third-straight season, East Carolina has enjoyed its highest-scoring inning in the fifth. This year, the Pirates have scored 21 runs during the fifth, three more than any other inning. In 2010, ECU pushed across 45 runs in the frame after scoring 39 runs in the fifth inning during the 2009 campaign.
Runs Early = Wins
When ECU has scored first this season, the team has an impressive 18-2 record. Luckily for the Pirates, their second-highest scoring inning is the first, when the team is outscoring its opponents 18-6. East Carolina is 9-1 when it scores in the opening frame with the lone loss a 6-5 nine-inning setback to St. John's Feb. 18.