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East Carolina returns to C-USA action

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — The No. 25 East Carolina Pirates return to Conference USA action this weekend for a three-game series with Southern Miss.
The Pirates (28-13, 6-5), who saw their seven-game winning streak get snapped with a 10-0 loss to No. 4 North Carolina on Tuesday, will be playing their first conference games since April 13.
The Golden Eagles (25-18, 6-9) are coming off a pair of non-conference losses to Mississippi State.
The teams play at 7 p.m. today, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Southern Miss holds a 9-7 lead over ECU in the all-time series. The Golden Eagles swept the series from the Pirates last year.
ECU’s last win against Southern Miss came in a 10-6 victory on April 10, 2005.
T.J. Hose gets the call for the Pirates in the series opener. The junior is 5-4 with a 3.90 ERA. Hose has struck out 47 and walked 29 in 64 2/3 innings.
Ryan Belanger will start for the Eagles. The senior right-hander is 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA. Belanger has 59 strikeouts and 11 walks in 66 2/3 innings.
Dustin Sasser will take the hill for ECU on Saturday. The junior lefty is 5-2 with a 3.43 ERA. Sasser has fanned 45 and walked 28 in 60 1/3 innings.
Southern Miss will counter with Barry Bowden. The junior right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.90 ERA. Bowden has 55 strikeouts and 19 walks in 55 1/3 innings.
Josh Dowdy will get the nod for the Pirates on Sunday. The sophomore is 1-1 with a 2.32 ERA. Dowdy has struck out 22 and walked nine in 42 2/3 innings.
The Eagles will throw David Clark. The junior right-hander is 5-3 with a 5.46 ERA. Clark has 51 strikeouts and 26 walks in 56 innings.
ECU closer Shane Mathews (2-3, 4.15 ERA) leads the club with 10 saves, which is tied for second most in a single season and are the fifth most in the nation. Kevyn Fulcher saved 10 games in the 1999 season.
Cory Scott holds the record with 22 saves.
Mathews, making 25 appearances, has struck out 36 and walked 17 in 30 1/3 innings.
Patrick Ezell leads Southern Miss with seven saves. He is 2-2 with a 1.45 ERA.
The Pirates enter with a .291 batting average with 46 homers and 249 RBIs. Dale Mollenhauer leads the club with a .352 average. The junior also has three homers and 26 RBIs.
Other top hitters for ECU are Ryan Wood (.339, two homers, 14 RBIs), Kyle Roller (.333, four homers, 12 RBIs), Drew Schieber (.333, three homers, 10 RBIs), Stephen Batts (.331, four homers, 42 RBIs), Harrison Eldridge (.307, four homers, 21 RBIs) and Ryan Tousley (.296, 10 homers, 44 RBIs).
The Eagles are hitting .276 with 26 homers and 212 RBIs. Trey Sutton leads the club with a .356 average to go with four homers and 31 RBIs.
Other top hitters are Brian Dozier (.315), Trey Cuevas (.291, eight homers, 27 RBIs) and James Ewing (.285, two homers, 23 RBIs).