April 2, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - East Carolina will go for its first Conference USA series sweep of the season Sunday with a 12:00 p.m. game at Southern Miss. The Pirates (27-10, 7-4 C-USA) defeated the Golden Eagles (10-23, 0-8 C-USA) twice Saturday by 6-0 and 5-1 scores. ECU had a chance to sweep Marshall two weeks ago, but fell in the Sunday contest 3-2.
A Walk-Off Win
East Carolina captured a 1-0 victory in last Saturday's opener against Tulsa when sophomore Kai Clark drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning. It was the second walk-off win of the year for ECU after junior Suzanne Riggs drove in freshman Kristi Oshiro in the bottom of the seventh against Iowa Feb. 12.
With last Saturday's 10-inning victory over Tulsa, ECU improved to 2-1 in extra-inning decisions this season. The Pirates' only loss was a 6-5 nine-frame setback to St. John's Feb. 18.
Since the start of the 2008 campaign, East Carolina is 14-6 in extra-inning affairs while outscoring its opponents 30-12 from the eighth inning on.
Forcing In A Run
The Pirates drew a bases-loaded walk in each game of the Tulsa series last weekend and had one in the Southern Miss opener Saturday. For the year, ECU has now taken nine bases-loaded walks and had another run forced in when freshman Jasmine Robbins was hit by a pitch with the bases full in the first game of the March 15 doubleheader against Charleston Southern.
Last Saturday was also the second 1-0 win East Carolina has gained this season with a bases-loaded free pass. In the campaign's first game against Lipscomb, a base on balls to Oshiro forced in freshman Jordan Lewis with the deciding run in the second inning.
The K-Free Zone
The Pirates defeated Tulsa 10-1 last Sunday and did not strike out during the five-inning contest. It was the second time this year (Fairfield on Feb. 26) the opponent has failed to record a whiff.
Gradually, East Carolina has decreased its strikeout rate this season. The team averaged 6.2 whiffs per game during February, but is down to 5.4 Ks a contest in March and 5.0 strikeouts per tilt in April.
Many More Chances Lead To More Runs
Last weekend in the series against Tulsa, East Carolina had a runner on third base and fewer than two outs 12 times. The Pirates converted that chance into a run five times, or 41.7 percent of the time. On the other hand, the Golden Hurricane had just one runner on third with fewer than two outs all weekend. For the series, ECU outscored TU 14-6.
This season, the Pirates have had 99 runners on third base with fewer than two outs compared with just 44 runners in that situation for opponents.
A Quick Start
ECU scored seven runs in the first inning alone last weekend. On the other hand, Tulsa scored six total runs during the three games. For the season, East Carolina is outscoring its opponents 30-10 during the opening frame.