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ECU roundup: Sadler ready for Purple-Gold softball game

By By KEVIN TRAVIS
Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Kendall Sadler will likely be behind the plate when the East Carolina softball team wraps up its fall camp on Saturday.
Sadler, a former standout at Southside High School, transferred to ECU from Louisburg College. After putting up gaudy numbers for the Hurricanes, Sadler said the adjustment to Division I softball has been challenging.
The Pirates, 40-20 overall and 14-9 in Conference USA play last year, will holds their Purple-Gold game Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Admission is free.
The Pirates defeated UNC-Wilmington, Francis Marion and Charlotte while falling to North Carolina in games this fall. Head coach Tracey Kee, who will begin her 12th season, and Kozlowski saw some positives.
Jessica Johnson returns with her big bat. She blasted 17 homers, drove in 53 runs and hit .357 last year as a sophomore. The home run total was the second most in a single-season in school history while the RBI total is the sixth most.
A handful of seniors return, including Beth Nolan, who had four homers, 19 RBIs and a .236 average. Noland said the Pirates have done well in camp.
While Nolan has been used to the rigors of ECU’s practices, Sadler said it’s taken some getting used to this fall.
The whole camp has been a learning experience for the ECU junior.
Sadler, who played some outfield and third base earlier in camp before being used primarily as a catcher, is hoping she’ll show enough that she can earn plenty of playing time in the spring.
That’s what all the players are hoping for as they wrap up fall camp on Saturday.
Kass looking forward to friendly crowd
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Seeing his most significant action of the season, East Carolina sophomore quarterback Rob Kass helped lead the Pirates to victory in hostile territory. He’ll hope to do the same Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Playing the whole second half, Kass completed 6-of-12 passes for 110 yards in a 37-35 win over the Houston Cougars, the defending Conference USA champions. That came on the heels of a 48-7 loss at West Virginia.
Kass threw the first touchdown pass of his career in the win. He lofted a 34-yard strike to T.J. Lee in the third quarter.
Kass will be looking for more of the same when the Pirates (2-3, 1-1) play host to the Central Florida Knights (3-1, 1-0) in a key C-USA battle Saturday. The Pirates will take over first place in the C-USA East with a victory.
Once again, Kass will split duties with junior quarterback Patrick Pinkney. Kass, who is 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) for 121 yards and a touchdown this season, believes the system works well.
Like Kass himself, the ECU signal-caller said the team is getting more comfortable after a grueling schedule to start the season.
After playing in those hostile environments, Kass is happy to have the chance to play in front of the home crowd. Saturday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Local fans meet ECU’s McCarthy
BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
You know basketball season is right around the corner when Franks Pizza holds its annual Pirate Tip-off Party. The event drew a nice turnout as local fans came out to meet and greet East Carolina’s new coach Mack McCarthy as well as some players and staff members.
In front of a room full of purple and gold faithful, McCarthy guaranteed that his team will give its all on the hardwood.
McCarthy also brought along his assistant coaches, as well as players Darrell Jenkins, Taylor Gagnon and Greyson Sargent.
Notably missing from the party was former assistant Chris Furguson, who recently jumped ship and joined the staff at Oklahoma State. While McCarthy and the Pirates do not have a replacement officially yet, the coach said East Carolina will name one before the first day of practice.
On Thursday, he introduced assistant coach Mike Perry and director of basketball operations Mark Thompson.
McCarthy wasn’t the only one to address the crow, he also let Jenkins, last year’s Conference USA’s leader in assists, speak to the fans.
Aside from pledging his allegiance to the ECU coaching staff, Jenkins said the team expects to play a faster style of basketball.
Highlighting the Pirates’ schedule this season will be games at home against George Mason (Dec. 2), Clemson (Dec. 5) and N.C. State Dec. 8). ECU will also play top-ranked Memphis on the road on Jan. 8.
McCarthy encourage fans to not only come out when the team faces top notch opponents, but also when it squares off against the lesser know squads.
McCarthy said the Pirates have talented players coming back on the roster.
The Pirates depth will be put to test on Nov. 11, when it plays its season opener at home against Limestone.