May 2, 2014
|East Carolina vs. UTEP
May 3, 2014 | 1 p.m. (EST)
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the East Carolina softball team will host UTEP in a three-game Conference USA series. The Pirates and Miners will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., on Saturday, May 3 at the ECU Softball Stadium, before ECU hosts Senior Day at 12 noon in Sunday’s finale.
The Pirates and Miners have met on the diamond 25 times in history, with East Carolina winning 21 of those matchups and each of the last dozen. ECU has swept each of the last four regular-season series’, which includes 9-4, 9-0 and 8-0 victories in El Paso, Texas last year.
The final weekend of the regular season will not go without at least a small shakeup of the current C-USA standings. East Carolina (25-18, 12-9 C-USA) currently sits in a three-way tie for fourth place with FIU and Florida Atlantic, while all three teams are just 1.5 games behind No. 2 UAB and a half game back of No. 3 North Texas. Tulsa has already clinched the regular-season title and will be the tournament’s top seed. The top eight seeds will advance to Boca Raton next weekend.
ECU comes into the weekend after taking two of three at Louisiana Tech last weekend behind a pair of complete-game shutouts by junior Caroline Umphlett. Senior Shelby Johnson is riding a nine-game hitting streak which matches her season high and has reached base in 14 straight. Seniors Kristi Oshiro and Jill Jelnick have also reached base in 11 and 9-consecutive ballgames, respectively, with both streaks marking season highs.
UTEP (16-32, 8-13 C-USA) comes into the weekend ranking third in Conference USA with a .293 batting average and have walked the fewest times (93) of any team. The Miners are led by Erika Arcuri who is hitting .377, while Ashley Eldridge owns a .331 average and a team-best 34 RBI and 31 runs scored. Their leading pitchers are Danielle Pearson (7-13, 5.41 ERA) and Colleen Hohman (5-8, 5.76 ERA).
On Saturday, the first 100 fans will receive a free Boneyard pint glass and ECU Pirates sunglasses, while the first 100 Student Pirate Club members will receive a Jolly Roger laundry bag. Sunday will be Treasure Chest Day, where fans will be able to pick an item from the treasure chest when entering the stadium.
AN EFFICIENT, OFFENSIVE MACHINE
East Carolina ranks second in Conference USA with a .308 team batting average. The Pirates have stolen the second most bases in the league with 83, but are tops in stolen-base percentage at 88.3 percent. Collectively, ECU makes contact as frequently as anyone in the conference, as it has struck out the second fewest times.
TEAM BATTING TITLE RACE
Through 40 games this season, the Pirates are hitting .308 as a team and if the season was already over, they would tie the school’s all-time record for team batting average. The 1993 team holds the highest mark at .308 and is the only ECU team to finish above the .300 threshold.
REACHING FOR HOME RUN HEIGHTS
As a team, East Carolina has belted 42 home runs this season, and with Kristi Oshiro’s three-run homer against Elon on April 18, passed the 1999 team for the third most in a single season in program history. The 2007 team tops the list with 57 long balls.
THE 10/10 CLUB
As of April 13 senior first baseman Jordan Lewis joined Alabama State’s Meagan Dixon as one of just two players in all of NCAA Division I softball with double-digit home runs and stolen bases this season.
HEAPS OF HIT STREAKS
Seven Pirates returning from last year’s team have either matched or set new career-long hitting streaks during the 2014 season. Senior Alex Fieldhouse recorded a team-best 10-game hitting streak that was snapped in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of Elon on April 18, while senior Shelby Johnson had a nine-game spree Feb. 21-Mar. 11.