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Pirates facing key series

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Corey Kemp knows just how special a weekend this could be for the No. 21 East Carolina Pirates.
ECU (36-13, 11-7), currently riding a nine-game winning streak, plays host to the No. 28 Tulane Green Wave (33-15-1, 10-6-1) in a key Conference USA series at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Game times are set for 7 p.m. today, 3 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.
Kemp and fellow seniors Harrison Eldridge, T.J. Hose, Jamie Ray, Josh Ruhlman and Brett Butts will be honored on Saturday. The Pirates will don pink caps Sunday in honor of Mother’s Day.
The Pirates enter the series hitting .324 with 67 home runs. Tulane is known for its pitching, as the Green Wave carries a collective 3.82 ERA into the series.
Second place in the conference standings are on the line this weekend. ECU coach Billy Godwin is expecting good competition.
ECU will send Seth Maness (8-0, 2.79 ERA) to the mound today. The freshman, recently named to the Roger Clemens Award Watch List, has struck out 67 batters in 71 innings.
Tulane will counter with Shooter Hunt (8-1, 2.04 ERA). Hunt has fanned 96 batters in 70 2-3 innings.
Junior Justin Bristow (7-2, 2.63 ERA), also named to the Clemens Watch List, will start Saturday for ECU. Hose (5-4, 4.76 ERA) will get the nod Sunday.
The Pirate pitchers will face a Tulane team that is hitting .297 with 49 dingers. Rob Segedin leads the Green Wave with a .354 batting average. He also has five homers and 47 RBIs.
Anthony Scelfo (.333, 45 RBIs) and Andrew Rodgers (.284, 35 RBIs) share the team-lead with 10 home runs.
Other top hitters for Tulane are Seth Henry (.324, five homers, 45 RBIs) and Jared Dyer (.313, five homers, 30 RBIs).
Matt Petiton (6-0, 1.74 ERA), a lefty, will likely throw Saturday for the Green Wave.
Eldridge leads the Pirates with a .378 batting average. He has four homers and 27 RBIs.
Other top hitters for the Pirates are Brandon Henderson (.354, seven homers, 38 RBIs), Stephen Batts (.354, seven homers, 40 RBIs), Jamie Ray (.335, four homers, 41 RBIs), Ryan Wood (.323, 11 homers, 45 RBIs), Dustin Harrington (.301, three homers, 27 RBIs), Kyle Roller (.287, nine homers, 39 RBIs) and Trent Whitehead (.274, three homers, 15 RBIs).
ECU has won 13 straight games at home. Kemp is hoping the home field advantage will continue.
The Pirates play their final home regular season game Tuesday against UNC-Wilmington. ECU ends the regular season on the road with a three-game series at Memphis.
The C-USA Tournament begins May 21 in New Orleans.