May 7, 2014
|East Carolina vs. FIU
May 8, 2014 | 1:30 p.m. (ET)
Boca Raton, Fla.
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina softball team will face FIU in the first round of the 2014 Conference USA Championship on Thursday, May 8 at 1:30 p.m., at the FAU Softball Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Pirates (27-19, 14-10 C-USA), seeded sixth in this year's tournament, won four of their last five regular-season games after a pair of wins over Elon and taking two of three from UTEP last weekend. The Panthers (33-19, 15-9 C-USA) are riding a six-game winning streak after sweeping North Texas and Southern Miss.
The Pirates and Panthers will meet for the fourth time this season and the sixth time overall, after FIU won two of three games during the regular-season series back on March 29 in Miami. ECU won the final game of the series, 12-2, in a five-inning run-rule victory. East Carolina won a pair of neutral site games in Atlanta, Ga., by scores of 8-0 and 7-2 during the 2000 campaign.
East Carolina ranks second in the conference in batting average at .302, while FIU is fifth at .290. ECU is fifth in team ERA (3.52) and the Panthers are fourth (3.18).
Senior Kristi Oshiro has reached base in a career-high 14-straight contests entering Thursday's ballgame, and is batting .447 (17-for-38) during that span with five doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI. In addition, the Mililani, Hawai'i native has drawn a team-best 10 walks while going a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen-base attempts.
In the circle, junior Caroline Umphlett has earned four-straight complete-game victories in as many starts, including three shutouts. She owns a 0.75 ERA, has allowed just three runs and three extra-base hits and is holding opposing hitters to a .161 batting average during that span.
East Carolina owns a 4-3 record in games played in the state of Florida in 2014, after going 3-1 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at Disney's Wide World of Sports in February. It has won two of the last four conference tournaments, including back-to-back crowns in 2010 and 2011.
AN EFFICIENT, OFFENSIVE MACHINE
East Carolina ranks second in Conference USA and 52nd in all of NCAA Division I with a .302 team batting average. The Pirates have stolen the second most bases in the league with 90, but are tops in stolen-base percentage at 89.1 percent. Collectively, ECU makes contact as frequently as anyone in the conference, as it has struck out the fewest times of any team in C-USA.
TEAM BATTING TITLE RACE
Through 46 games this season, the Pirates are hitting .302 as a team and if the season was already over, they would own the second best average in a single season in program history. 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 44 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 all-time list with 57.
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.
THE 10/10 CLUB
On April 12 senior first baseman Jordan Lewis joined Alabama State's Meagan Dixon as one of the first two players in all of NCAA Division I softball to record double-digit home runs and stolen bases this season.
THE SPEED DEMON
Senior Shelby Johnson ranks second in Conference USA in stolen bases with 34. Johnson swiped a career-high three bags in the Pirates' 4-3, extra-inning win against Tennessee Tech on March 1, the most in a game by an ECU player since Jill Jelnick accomplished the feat with a trio on March 28, 2012 against UNC Wilmington. She has recorded two or more steals in nine different games this season.
HOME RUN CHASE
First baseman Jordan Lewis (11) and corner infielder Alex Fieldhouse (eight) are East Carolina's top-two home run hitters, and the senior sluggers continue to climb the program's all-time list. Lewis' 25-career long-balls rank fifth in program history, while Fieldhouse's 21 are tied for the sixth most with Beth Bridger (1999-02).
WALK THIS WAY
Senior infielder Kristi Oshiro has drawn 110 career walks during her career, and with a base-on-balls against Southern Miss on April 5 became just the fourth player in program history to draw at least 100. Oshiro is currently in third place and just 14 behind Keisha Shepperson (1998-01) who ranks second.