ECU puts winning streak on the line vs. Memphis Tigers

Published 4:34 pm Friday, March 23, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — East Carolina coach Billy Godwin and several of his players see this weekend’s series as the start of a “new season” for the Pirates.
The No. 22 Pirates (16-6) open Conference USA play against the Memphis Tigers at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Game times are set for 7 p.m. today, 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.
ECU takes a 10-game winning streak, its longest since recording 19 straight victories in 2004, into tonight’s C-USA opener. The Pirates have won 14 of their last 15 games.
Memphis (14-6) has won five straight, including an 11-8 win over Middle Tennessee on Wednesday. The Tigers went 1-2 against then-No. 6 Clemson earlier this year. The victory was a 6-4 nod in 10 innings.
The Pirates are 16-3 at home this season.
Junior T.J. Hose (4-2, 3.50 ERA) will get the ball for the Pirates in tonight’s series opener. Hose has recorded a team-high 30 strikeouts and walked 15 in a team-best 36 innings of work.
Hose will look to build on his personal four-game winning streak.
Sophomore right-hander Scott McGregor (0-1, 6.60 ERA) will throw for the Tigers tonight. McGregor has struck out eight and walked five in 15 innings.
Playing at home and riding a 10-game winning streak bodes well for the Pirates.
Mathews (1-2, 2.16 ERA) leads the Pirates with seven saves. He has struck out 25 and walked nine in 16 2/3 innings.
Butts (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has yet to surrender a run. He has fanned 10 and walked five in 9 2/3 innings. Neitz (2-0, 0.93 ERA) has been solid himself, striking out 23 and walking three in 19 1/3 innings.
The Pirates enter the series hitting .284 as a team. ECU has cranked out 18 homers and driven in 122 runs. Along with Batts, other top hitters are Drew Schieber (.364), Dale Mollenhauer (.341), Harrison Eldridge (.337), Ryan Tousley (.301, four homers, 22 RBIs) and Brandon Henderson (.250, five homers, 16 RBIs).
Dustin Sasser (2-0, 2.53 ERA) will get the nod for ECU on Saturday. The lefty has struck out 25 and walked 12 in 32 innings.
Memphis will start senior right-hander Ben Grisham (0-0, 5.79 ERA). Grisham has fanned six and walked four in 9 1/3 innings.
Josh Dowdy (0-1, 2.21 ERA) will start Sunday’s game for the Pirates. Dowdy has struck out 11 and walked three in 21 1/3 innings.
Memphis will counter with freshman right-hander Marc Ashley (1-0, 4.43 ERA). Ashley has fanned nine and walked seven in 20 1/3 innings.
The Tigers enter the series hitting .259 with 15 homers and 102 RBIs. Bill Moss leads Memphis with seven homers, 22 RBIs and a .395 batting average.
Other top hitters are Eric Farrell (.304), Joey Lieberman (.296, two homers, 18 RBIs) and K.K. Chalmers (.270).
The Pirates, who conclude their 20-game homestand Wednesday against UNC-Wilmington, would like nothing more than to build on their winning streak.