East Carolina opens C-USA Tournament play Thursday at 4:30 p.m. against Memphis.
May 8, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina, host of the 2011 Conference USA Softball Championship, will enter this week's event as the No. 5 seed after finishing the regular season with a 36-20 overall record and 14-10 mark in league games. The Pirates open tournament play facing fourth-seeded Memphis (35-11, 15-7 C-USA) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the ECU Softball Stadium.
East Carolina is 8-12 all-time in C-USA post-season action having defeated Southern Miss and UCF twice and Houston, Marshall, Memphis and UAB once. A year ago, the Pirates claimed their first league championship title by downing Southern Miss 8-0, Houston 4-0 and UCF 3-1. Toni Paisley was named the event's most valuable player after going 3-0 and striking out 20 while Marina Gusman-Brown, Sissy Jimenez, Vanessa Moreno and Kaui Tom were all-tournament team honorees.
This season, ECU has been led in the circle by Paisley. The 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America selection owns a 27-11 record and 1.11 earned run average in 2011. With the release of the newest NCAA statistics, through May 1 games, the Lakewood, Calif., native was tied for the Division I lead in solo shutouts with 14 and ranked among the top 16 in total strikeouts (5th/328), victories (7th/26), earned run average (7th/1.07), hits allowed per seven innings (12th/4.07) and walks allowed per seven innings (16th/1.18).
On offense, junior Suzanne Riggs paces the squad in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.306), runs batted in (35), slugging percentage (.459) and home runs (4). The April 4 and 18 C-USA Hitter-of-the-Week also owns a team second-best 13 multiple-hit games and squad-high 10 multi-RBI contests. Riggs drew a league-high 19 walks in C-USA games, which are the most free passes in Conference USA action for any Pirate player since ECU joined the conference for softball competition in 2002.
Another key piece of the Pirates' offense is freshman Kristi Oshiro, who has team-best marks in hits with 51, runs scored with 35 and walks with 36. The Mililani, Hawai'i, product led ECU during C-USA games with 18 hits and added 10 runs.
All-session tickets for the Conference USA Tournament are $35 for purple chairback seating directly behind home plate, $25 for adult general admission and $20 for youth (ages 17 and under) general admission. Students of any C-USA institution are admitted for free with their university ID card. The all-session tickets include passes for each of the seven games.
To order tickets, call the ECU Athletic Ticket Office at 252-737-4500 or visit its official website.
Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, May 9.
Conference USA Thursday First-Round Tournament Schedule
Game 1 - No. 2 Tulsa vs. No. 7 Marshall 11:00 a.m.
Game 2 - No. 3 UAB vs. No. 6 UCF 1:30 p.m.
Game 3 - No. 4 Memphis vs. No. 5 East Carolina 4:30 p.m.
Game 4 - No. 1 Houston vs. No. 8 Southern Miss 7:00 p.m.
All Times Eastern