Pirates return to conference action

Published 2:38 pm Friday, March 28, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — East Carolina is looking to climb higher in the Conference USA standings this weekend.
After a disappointing 1-2 showing in the opening conference series against Houston last weekend, the Pirates (16-6, 1-2 C-USA) will look to improve on that against the No. 19 UCF Knights (21-4, 1-2 C-USA).
T.J. Hose, who lasted just two innings in his previous appearance, will get the start in tonight’s series opener. Godwin said it’s important that the Pirate ace has a solid outing in tonight’s game, which begins at 6:30.
Hose (1-2, 7.94 ERA) will face a UCF team that is 18-1 at home this season. The Knights are hitting .329 as a club. Dwayne Bailey paces the team with a .437 batting average to go with 19 RBI. Shane Brown, who is hitting at a .416 clip, leads the team with 35 RBI and is tied for the team-lead with three home runs.
Other top hitters for UCF are Ryan Richardson (.423), Kyle Mills (.391), Tim Russell (.348), Robert Lara (.317) and Colin Arnold (.310).
Lefty Mitch Houck will start for UCF in tonight’s series opener. Houck, who carries a 2-0 record and a 4.30 ERA into the contest, leads the team with 39 strikeouts in 23 innings of work.
He’ll face a Pirate club that is hitting .324 collectively. Harrison Eldridge leads the Pirates with a .429 batting average. The senior also leads ECU with 20 stolen bases.
Ryan Wood (.337, 26 RBI) leads the Pirates with seven home runs, while Corey Kemp (.371, 19 RBI), Brandon Henderson (.351, 24 RBI) and Kyle Roller (.254, 21 RBI) have six apiece.
Other top hitters for the Pirates are Stephen Batts (.372, four homers, 26 RBI), Drew Schieber (.372), Dustin Harrington (.345) and Trent Whitehead (.313).
Freshman Seth Maness (4-0, 3.21 ERA), who leads the club with four wins, will start Saturday’s game for the Pirates. UCF will counter with right-hander Kyle Sweat (3-0, 2.70 ERA).
Junior transfer Justin Bristow (3-1, 2.70 ERA) will start Sunday for ECU, while the Knights will start southpaw Mitch Herold (2-1, 2.55 ERA).
Saturday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday’s game starts at 1 p.m.
The Pirates return home Tuesday to face the N.C. State Wolfpack.
C-USA Standings
Team Conf. Overall
Rice 3-0 18-7
Memphis 3-0 11-12
Houston 2-1 16-7
Southern Miss 2-1 15-7
UCF 1-2 21-4
East Carolina 1-2 16-6
Tulane 0-0 16-7
Marshall 0-3 9-12
UAB 0-3 8-13