April 21, 2012
|East Carolina Game 47: Southern Miss
Sunday, April 22 | 12:00 p.m. ET
Greenville, N.C. (ECU Softball Stadium)
|Watch Live | Gametracker|
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina (21-25, 7-10 C-USA) goes for its second Conference USA series sweep of the season Sunday against Southern Miss (12-26, 4-13 C-USA) with a 12:00 p.m. contest. The Pirates have won five-straight games and three consecutive contests in league play.
Saturday, ECU downed the Golden Eagles 2-1 and 3-1. Freshmen pitchers Courtney Smith and Sarah Christian each threw a complete game and combined to allow just seven hits without walking a batter. In the opener, a two-out solo home run from sophomore Alex Fieldhouse in the bottom of the sixth made a winner of Smith, who retired 13 of the final 14 Southern Miss batters with only Omeshia Moffett reaching after being hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth. Game two had ECU sophomore Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin provide the deciding run with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Jasmine Robbins accounted for the other two runs as she tallied an RBI single and the final run scored when her fly ball was dropped by Moffett in right field.
A Career-Best Weekend
Kaluhiokalani-Glackin turned in the best offensive weekend of her career during the three-game series in Houston. The Waianae, Hawai'i, native tied for the team lead with a .429 batting average and finished second on the squad with a .500 on-base percentage and two runs scored.
In the Sunday finale, Kaluhiokalani-Glackin matched her career high with two hits. She has an overall batting average of .193 this season after hitting .099 in 2011. She recorded only four hits in 24 C-USA tilts last season and has seven hits so far this year.
Velasquez Does It All
With East Carolina clinging to a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning last Sunday at Houston, senior Priscilla Velasquez came in to pitch. Velasquez had thrown in just one Conference USA game previously, but sealed the triumph, tossing the last two innings to earn her first career save. The La Quinta, Calif., native gave up an unearned run on two hits and one strikeout. She has not allowed an earned run in five innings pitched this season.
Earlier in the contest, Velasquez tallied her first career hit against the Cougars with a one-out solo home run to left center in the top of the third inning.
Fieldhouse Back In The Groove
Fieldhouse hit .400 in the series at Houston and is batting .400 (10-for-25) in the last nine games after enduring a four-for-43 skid (.093 batting average). During the last seven contests, the Garden Grove, Calif., native has tallied five runs batted in after going 18-straight tilts without an RBI.
Robbins Warming Up
As a freshman in 2011, Robbins got on a roll toward the end of the campaign. In the 15 games prior to the NCAA Tournament, Robbins hit an ECU-second-best .375 to go along with a team-high .528 on-base percentage.
Robbins has followed the same path this season, warming up as the year goes on. After posting a .254 batting average in her 23 games prior to C-USA action, the sophomore has hit a team second-best .320 during conference contests. She is tied with classmate Jill Jelnick for the most hits on the squad (16) and holds the second-highest slugging percentage (.460).
Making It Count The Last Time
Senior Suzanne Riggs entered last weekend's series at Houston without a hit in her career against the Cougars. She responded with a .429 (three-for-seven) performance at the plate, including three walks and two runs batted in.
During league contests this year, the Greenville native is tied for second in C-USA in on-base percentage (.500), tied for third in walks (12), fifth in slugging percentage (.659), tied for eighth in runs batted in (14) and eighth in batting average (.366). In all games, Riggs stands second in walks (25), sixth in on-base percentage (.449), tied for eighth in home runs (eight) and eighth in slugging percentage (.589).
The Most Effective 1-2 Punch
Sophomores Jelnick and Kristi Oshiro have filled the top two spots in the lineup for all but 10 games this season. Jelnick has started in the top spot 30 times and in the two-hole for 11 contests. Oshiro has batted leadoff 12 times and second 29 times.
The pair's batting averages indicate that the most effective order is Oshiro leading off, where she is hitting .310 this season, with Jelnick second, where she has posted a .324 average. With Jelnick in the leadoff spot, she is hitting .299, but Oshiro slips to .217 in the second slot. The Pirates have also gone 8-4 with Oshiro leading off, but 12-18 with Jelnick in the No. 1 position.
A Thin Line Between A Win And A Loss
East Carolina has lost 25 games this season, its most since suffering 30 in 2008. Of the 25 setbacks, however, 10 have been by two or fewer runs and four others have been walk-off victories for the opponent when the score was either tied or the Pirates were ahead.
An Offensive Boost
With a lineup that regularly consisted of seven freshmen in 2011, East Carolina scored 226 runs in 63 contests, an average of 3.6 per game. This year, having a core group of sophomores with a year of experience plus strong senior seasons by Riggs and Velasquez, the Pirates have scored 207 runs in 46 games, an average of nearly a whole run per game higher at 4.5.
With at least seven games remaining on the schedule, ECU is on pace to score 239 runs, its second most since 2009 behind only the 249 in 2010.