May 5, 2013
IRVING, Texas - East Carolina, winners of two of the last three Conference USA Softball Championships, will enter this week's event as the No. 5 seed after finishing the regular season with a 21-30 overall record and 11-12 mark in league games. The Pirates open tournament play facing fourth-seeded Marshall (32-20, 13-10 C-USA) at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday at the Collins Family Softball Complex in Tulsa, Okla.
East Carolina is 11-13 all-time in C-USA postseason action having defeated Houston, Memphis, Southern Miss and UCF twice and Marshall, Tulsa and UAB once.
Also as the fifth-seed two years ago, ECU claimed its second consecutive C-USA Tournament title, downing Memphis 5-1, Houston 1-0 and Tulsa 4-1.
This season, East Carolina's offense has been led by juniors Kristi Oshiro, Jordan Lewis, Alex Fieldhouse and Jill Jelnick. Oshiro and Lewis are tied for the team lead in batting average at .331. Oshiro, Fieldhouse and Jelnick are tied for the hit lead with 47 base knocks. Oshiro leads the team and conference in triples with five. She also has walked 25 times, scored 39 runs and totaled nine sacrifice bunts. Lewis paces the club with her 27 walks, 12 stolen bases, .571 slugging percentage and is tied for the lead in home runs with seven. Fieldhouse has also hit seven home runs and leads the team with her 13 doubles, 39 RBI and three sacrifice flies. Jelnick has contributed a .283 batting average, 26 runs, three sacrifice flies and seven stolen bases.
Freshman Meredith Mitchell is another key piece for the Pirates' offensive attack. She hit .290 for the season with 31 hits and six stolen bases. The Dunlap, Tenn., native improved her average to .333 and tied for the squad lead with 20 hits in C-USA action.
In the circle, the duo of sophomore Sarah Christian and Courtney Smith have combined to post a 3.29 earned run average in 300 innings. The pair has tallied 178 strikeouts and issued 100 walks. Christian owns a 15-12 record and 2.94 ERA, while Smith is 5-15 with a 3.74 ERA.
All-session tickets for the tournament are $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Single-game tickets are available for adults at $10 and youth at $5. Students of any C-USA institution are admitted for free with their university ID card.
Conference USA Thursday First-Round Tournament Schedule
Game 1 - No. 2 Seed Houston (37-17, 19-5 C-USA) vs. No. 7 Seed Memphis (24-35, 8-16 C-USA) - Noon
Game 2 - No. 3 Seed Tulsa (41-13-1, 19-5 C-USA) vs. No. 6 Seed UCF (29-24, 10-14 C-USA) - 2:30 p.m.
Game 3 - No. 1 Seed UAB (36-14, 19-4 C-USA) vs. No. 8 Seed Southern Miss (14-40, 4-18 C-USA) - 5:30 p.m.
Game 4 - No. 4 Seed Marshall (32-20, 13-10 C-USA) vs. No. 5 Seed East Carolina (21-30, 11-12 C-USA) - 8 p.m.
All times Eastern