No. 14 East Carolina to tangle with No. 3 North Carolina

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
The No. 14 East Carolina Pirates will look to build on their five-game winning streak when they take on the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels.
Today’s game at Boshamer Stadium begins at 6 p.m.
The teams are meeting for the first time since UNC posted an 11-10 victory over ECU in the 2007 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional. The Tar Heels have won eight straight over the Pirates, and own a 43-24 lead in the series.
The Pirates (25-5), looking for their first victory over the Heels since a 2-1 nod on April 17, 2002, will start left-hander Patrick Somers (2-1, 3.52 ERA). The freshman will be making his first career start.
Somers will face a North Carolina team that is hitting .307 with 38 home runs. Dustin Ackley leads the Heels with a .408 average to go with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs.
Other top hitters for UNC are Kyle Seager (.380, 1 HR, 22 RBIs), Ben Bunting (.365, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs), Mark Fleury (.324, 7 HRs, 34 RBIs) and Levi Michael (.306, 10 HRs, 30 RBIs).
Sophomore right-hander Patrick Johnson (1-0, 2.70 ERA) will get the nod for coach Mike Fox’s Tar Heels.
Johnson will face an ECU club that is hitting .361 with 47 home runs. Former Washington Pam Pack standout Trent Whitehead, ECU’s leadoff batter, leads the Pirates with a .438 average. The sophomore also has two home runs and 23 RBIs.
Other top hitters for ECU are Brandon Henderson (.405, 4 HRs, 27 RBIs), Ryan Wood (.397, 4 HRs, 30 RBIs), Devin Harris (.380, 6 HRs, 25 RBIs), Kyle Roller (.374, 8 HRs, 41 RBIs), Stephen Batts (.373, 8 HRs, 30 RBIs), Jared Avchen (.342, 2 HRs, 18 RBIs), Austin Homan (.341, 13 RBIs), Drew Schieber (.336, 4 HRs, 37 RBIs), Dustin Harrington (.319, 4 HRs, 21 RBIs) and Cameron Freeman (.300).
East Carolina hasn’t won at North Carolina since a 7-5 victory on April 27, 1994.
ECU stays on the road Wednesday when the Pirates play at UNC Wilmington. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
The Pirates return home Friday for the state of a three-game Conference USA series against the Rice Owls. Game times for this weekend are set for 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.