Softball Preview - Games 27-29: Houston

UABSPORTS.COM Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith

March 22, 2013

 Game 52: No. 5 Seed East Carolina (21-30) vs. No. 4 Seed Marshall (32-20)
 May 9 in Tulsa, Okla.
East Carolina vs. Marshall (First Round)  May 9 | 8:00 p.m. (ET) | GameTracker Video
 Game Notes East Carolina | Conference USA | Marshall
 Social Media @ECUSoftball   | Facebook | YouTube

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina softball team returns home and hosts conference rival Houston for three games this weekend starting at 1 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, March 23, with a doubleheader at ECU Softball Stadium. The games on Saturday will also be Youth Day for the Pirates. Members of the Pitt County Girls' Softball League and the Girl Scouts of Pitt County will have the opportunity to come on the field with the ECU players for the national anthem. All youths that are aged 17 and under will be able to attend the games for free. The two teams will wrap up the series with a noon contest on Sunday, March 24. The Pirates enter the weekend's action with an overall record of 9-17 and a mark of 1-2 in Conference USA play. ECU is also looking to end a current two-game losing streak both overall and in league play.

Live stats and live video will be available for all three home conference games. Live in-game updates for the contests can also be accessed through the ECU Softball Twitter feed (@ECUSoftball).

Scouting Houston
The Cougars (16-9, 5-1 Conference USA) have started league play well with five wins in the first six games ... Houston, who made the NCAA Tournament a season ago with a 35-24 record and a 15-9 mark in conference play, were picked to place second in the league this season ... Last weekend, Houston, after falling in the opener, won the last two games of its series with UCF ... Holly Anderson has led the offensive charge for the Cougars with her .400 batting average, 32 hits, 17 RBI plus seven doubles ... Reina Gaber has also hit well this season with a .313 batting average, 25 hits, eight doubles and 15 RBI ... The preseason choice for player-of-the-year in the league, Haley Outon, has also stood out with a .351 batting average, 20 hits, 17 runs, four doubles, seven home runs, 18 RBI and 24 walks ...  Bailey Watts has been the top team's top pitcher with her 1.72 ERA, nine wins, 11 complete games, three saves, 77.1 innings worked and 64 strikeouts ... Houston is coached by Kyla Holas, who is the first and only softball coach in the history of the program ... Holas is Conference USA's all-time leader in victories with 451 ... Houston has made five NCAA Regional appearances (2004, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012) and two NCAA Super Regional appearances (2008 and 2011) since 1999 ... Houston holds an edge in the all-time series by a 24-14 count and are one of three C-USA opponents to have a winning record against the Pirates ... The Cougars have also taken three of the five all-time series played in Greenville.

Career Numbers vs. Houston
Junior Alex Fieldhouse is 6-for-16 (.375 BA) with a home run and four career RBI vs. the Cougars ... Fellow junior Jasmine Robbins has a home run and three career RBI against Houston.

On This Date (Weekend Edition)
ECU has an all-time record of 28-20 on the dates from March 23-24 ... The Pirates are 15-11 on March 23 and last played and lost to Stanford during the 2008 season ... East Carolina is 13-9 all-time on March 24 and defeated UTEP on the date last season.

A Familiar Place
The Pirates are currently 1-2 in league play for the third time in the last five seasons (2009, 2011 and 2013) ... ECU has started Conference USA play with a 1-2 record a total of five times since joining the league in softball prior to the start of the 2002 season (2003, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013).

Home Is Where The Conference Wins Are
Since the start of the 2002 season, ECU is 71-52 (.577) at home against Conference USA opponents ... East Carolina has only finished below .500 at home in conference games once in the last four years ... Last year, ECU went 8-3 at home during the conference slate.

Long Travels
The Pirates just finished a stretch of playing 13 consecutive regular season and one exhibition game on the road over a 17-day period of time ... During that time, the Pirates traveled 17,578.76 miles ... The 13 consecutive regular season games on the road was the eighth time since 2000 that the Pirates have seen a road trip last more than 10 straight games ... ECU played 27 straight games on the road during the 2000 season ... The 13 consecutive road games was the longest since last season's team played 19 straight games away from home from Feb. 24-March 18 ... Overall, the 13 straight road contest this season is the fifth-longest stretch of non-home games since 2000.



Turning It Around
After a rough stretch of three starts in the middle of the season (0-3 record, 7.41 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched), sophomore Sarah Christian has really begun to settle down in her last three starts ... Despite the 1-2 overall record, she sports a fine 1.11 ERA and has fanned nine in her 19 innings in the circle.

Individual Conference Leaders
The Pirates, through the midway point of the sixth week of softball action, have several players that are ranked highly in Conference USA ...  Junior Kristi Oshiro leads the conference in batting average (.421), triples (5) and total bases (53) ... She is second in slugging percentage (.697) plus tied for second in runs (22), on-base percentage (.483) and doubles (8) ... Oshiro also ranks tied fourth in hits (32) and tied for 10th in sacrifice bunts (3) ... Junior Alex Fieldhouse is tied for second in sacrifice flies (2), fourth in slugging percentage (.630), sixth in total bases (46) and RBI (19)  ... She is also tied for seventh in home runs (5) and tied for eighth in triples (1) ...  Junior Jordan Lewis is tied for fourth in triples (2) and tied for eighth in stolen bases (9) ... Junior Jill Jelnick and freshman Casey Alcorn are both tied for eighth in triples (1) ... Sophomore Sarah Christian is fourth in appearances (19), fifth in innings pitched (88.2) and games started (13) ... She is sixth in wins (7), ninth in strikeouts (55) and 10th in ERA (3.00)

The Last Meeting
East Carolina7
April 15, 2012
Houston, Texas
Pirates Get Sunday Win Over Houston
Box Score | Live Chat Replay
For the second-straight weekend, East Carolina avoided a Conference USA series sweep with a Sunday victory.

Team Conference Leaders
ECU, as a team, is tied for the conference lead in triples (10) and are third in doubles (35) ... The program is also fourth in total bases (258) and slugging percentage (.395) plus fifth in hits (167) and sixth in batting average (.256)

NCAA Leaders
Kristi Oshiro ranks among the NCAA leaders in several categories in the second release of statistics this week (3/17) ... Oshiro is second in triples (5.0), eighth in triples per game (0.19), 23rd in toughest to strikeout (38.0), 58th in batting average (.421), 89th in doubles per game (0.31), 116th in slugging percentage (.697), 119th in on-base percentage (.483) and 145th in runs per game (0.85) ... Alex Fieldhouse also finds herself among the NCAA leaders in home runs (5.0 - 141st) ... Jordan Lewis is 51st nationally in triples (2.0) and 141st in stolen bases a contest (0.35) ... In the circle, Sarah Christian is 74th in walks per seven innings (1.81) and 121st in wins (7.0)

Need To Keep Them Scoreless in the First
The Pirates have yet to win a game this season when their opponent tallies a score in the opening inning (0-11 record) ... ECU is also only 1-14 when its opponent crosses home first ... East Carolina is 9-1 on the season though when holding opponents to two runs or less in any game.

Home Sweet Home
ECU has a 6-7 record in home games this season ... Junior Kristi Oshiro has led the team with her .474 batting average (18-for-38), five doubles and four triples ... Fellow junior Alex Fieldhouse has also stood out at home with her .371 batting average (13-for-35) with three home runs and 12 RBI ... Sophomore Sarah Christian has five of the team's wins with a 2.52 ERA in 41.2 innings thrown ... ECU has a team batting average of .291 at home and a team ERA of 3.12.

Up Next
East Carolina continues the brief homestand and gets out of conference play to host North Carolina State (11-13-1) for a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 27, at 5 p.m.