April 28, 2006
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East Carolina (33-22, 7-11) welcomes Southern Miss (26-30, 10-8) to Greenville this weekend for its final home series of the season. The first two games of the series will be played Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. with game three scheduled for a 12 noon start Sunday. Sunday's game will be the final home game for five Pirate seniors: Brently Bridgeforth, Stephanie Hayes, Krista Jessup, Alison Monce and Ashley Quick.
The Pirates enter the game trailing Memphis by one and one-half games for sixth place in the Conference USA standings. Only the top six teams in the final regular season standings qualify for the league's postseason tournament. Southern Miss leads Memphis by two games in the win column for fifth place. Memphis (26-22, 8-9) hosts Marshall this weekend before ending its season at Houston.
ECU will look to erase the memory of losing the final two games of last weekend's series at Memphis. Southern Miss will also look to put a disappointing week behind after being swept by Houston.
The Golden Eagles won 3-of-4 games against the Pirates last season, taking 2-of-3 in Hattiesburg and then eliminating the Pirates from the Conference USA Tournament.
Scouting Southern Miss
The Golden Eagles enter the series in fifth place in the conference, one game back of UAB for fourth place. USM leads the league in stolen bases with 94 and has four players ranked among the top 10 in the conference led by Ashley Brenan with 25 (third overall).
Jennifer Fox leads the Golden Eagles with a .340 overall batting average, 10th highest in the conference. Fox is the only player on the team batting over .300. Charity Butler ranks second with a .295 average. Brenan and Fox are tied for the team lead in home runs with seven each. The rest of the team has combined for just five home runs. USM also leads C-USA in doubles (74) and triples (9).
Lacey Gros is USM's top hurler. She has started 25 games in the circle and made 32 overall appearances with a record of 14-14. Danielle Wymer is likely to be USM's second starter of the weekend after making 15 starts and 19 appearances in 2006 with a 7-6 record.
ECU has lost three in-a-row in the series and trail 2-13 in the series since joining C-USA.
Underclassmen Swinging Hot Bats In C-USA
Sophomore Beth Nolan and Erin St. Ledger along with freshman Angel Barrella are each hitting over .300 against Conference USA opponents this season. St. Ledger leads the trio with a .356 average, which ranks fifth highest among the conference leaders. Barrella, who is batting just .182 overall, is hitting a robust .333 in eight C-USA games this season, while Nolan is batting .327 in 16 league games compared to a .228 overall clip.
Calendar Change Brings Baggett's Bat To Life
Sophomore Paige Baggett appears to have broken out of a season-long slump. She has hit safely in 12 of the past 13 games, including 11 consecutive games before her streak was broken in game two of the Memphis series. Over the past 13 games she is batting .428 (15-for-35). The longest hitting streak of the season by any Pirate, Baggett has raised her average by 66 points from .198 to .264 since the calendar changed to April. She has struck out just once in her last 40 plate appearances, while drawing three base-on-balls.