No. 17 Pirates to take on Green Wave

Published 3:42 pm Friday, April 17, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — East Carolina is heading to the Big Easy, but the No. 17 Pirates know that even though Tulane is having a sub-par year, the games will be anything but easy.
"Any time you travel, it makes it different for your guys," fourth-year ECU coach Billy Godwin said. "(Tulane is) a program that's a very rich program in history and tradition."
The Pirates (27-10, 9-3 C-USA) , coming off a 7-0 win over N.C. State, and Green Wave (20-16, 3-6 C-USA), winners of three straight after dropping its previous five, will begin the series at 7 p.m. today at Greer Field in Turchin Stadium.
A pair of unbeaten pitchers will take the mound for each team. Chris Heston (5-0, 3.67 ERA) will get the call for the Pirates. Tulane will counter with senior right-hander Josh Zeid (5-0, 3.50 ERA).
The Pirates would like to get off to a good start against Zeid to set the tone for the rest of the series.
"They have a good club," said sophomore outfielder Trent Whitehead, who homered in the win against N.C. State. "We definitely need to win the series, if not sweep, if we can. It's going to be good competition for us."
Seth Maness (4-0, 4.47 ERA), coming off a brilliant three-hit shutout against Rice, will start for ECU in Saturday’s game, slated to begin at 3 p.m. Junior lefty Aaron Loup (1-2, 5.29 ERA) will start for Tulane.
Brad Mincey (7-2, 2.56 ERA) gets the ball for the Pirates in Sunday’s series finale, which will begin at 2 p.m. Conrad Flynn (3-3, 4.12 ERA), a sophomore right-hander, will start for the Green Wave.
"It's a very big series," said shortstop Dustin Harrington, who banged out three hits in the win over the Wolfpack. "Tulane is a good team. We just need to go out and play."
The Pirates enter the series hitting .356 with 56 home runs. Brandon Henderson leads the team with a .421 average to go with five homers and 31 RBIs.
Whitehead, a former standout with the Washington Pam Pack, is hitting at a .420 clip. The sophomore, who has three homers and 27 RBIs, leads C-USA and is among the top five in the nation with 66 hits.
Other top hitters for ECU are Ryan Wood (.377, 4 HRs, 31 RBIs), Devin Harris (.369, 9 HRs, 30 RBIs), Stephen Batts (.359, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs), Austin Homan (.346, 13 RBIs), Dustin Harrington (.342, 6 HRs, 29 RBIs), Drew Schieber (.342, 4 HRs, 41 RBIs), Kyle Roller (.341, 9 HRs, 43 RBIs) and Jared Avchen (.326, 2 HRs, 20 RBIs).
Tulane is hitting .299 with 43 home runs. Sam Honeck leads the Green Wave with a .369 average. His 13 home runs and 53 RBIs also lead the club.
Other top hitters for Tulane are Josh Prince (.366, 1 HR, 21 RBIs), Jeremy Schaffer (.325, 6 HRs, 32 RBIs), Drew Allain (.313, 5 HRs, 19 RBIs), Scott Powell (.293) and Seth Henry (.292, 8 HRs, 29 RBIs).
"We have to go there and play well," Godwin said. "We're still sitting in a tie, technically, for first place (in the C-USA standings). We have to go there and take care of business in the conference."
ECU will return home Tuesday for a five-game homestand. The Pirates will face Elon on Tuesday, North Carolina on Wednesday and Southern Miss next weekend.