No. 21 Pirates to face Ragin’ Cajuns

Published 6:41 pm Friday, May 1, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — The No. 21 East Carolina Pirates will look to put an end to a two-game skid, and gain some momentum heading into the stretch run of the season.
The Pirates (32-14, 12-6 C-USA) play host to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (21-22-1, 10-13 Sun Belt) in a three-game non-conference series at Clark-LeClair Stadium this weekend.
It’s just the second meeting between the two schools. The Cajuns put an end to ECU’s season in 2000, taking wins of 5-3 and 8-5 in the 2000 NCAA Regional in Lafayette, La.
The teams will play at 7 p.m. today, 3 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.
The Pirates, who have lost two straight after winning their previous four, are hoping Chris Heston (6-0, 3.39 ERA) will give them the lift they need. Heston, recently named to the College Baseball Foundation's official watch list for the inaugural presentation of the Pitcher-of-the-Year sponsored by Mizuno, will face a team that is hitting .279 with 35 home runs.
Greg Fontenot leads the team with a .348 average. He also has one homer and 22 RBIs.
Other top hitters for the Cajuns are Travis Whipple (.327, 7 HRs, 29 RBIs), Kyle Olasin (.304, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs), Chad Keefer (.299, 5 HRs, 37 RBIs), Les Smith (.297, 6 HRs, 32 RBIs), Matt Goulas (.295, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs) and Scott Hawkins (.287, 7 HRs, 26 RBIs).
Seth Maness (6-0, 4.75 ERA) will start Saturday for the Pirates. Sunday’s starter has not been announced. Possibilities include Kevin Brandt (6-1, 3.64 ERA) and Brad Mincey (7-4, 3.06 ERA).
ECU closer Seth Simmons (2-1, 3.24 ERA) has seven saves.
Trent Whitehead leads an ECU team that is hitting .343 with 73 home runs. The former Washington Pam Pack star leads the team and Conference USA with 75 hits.
Whitehead, who has career-highs in home runs (five), RBIs (32), runs (51) and stolen bases (six), leads ECU and is third in C-USA with his .391 batting average.
Other top hitters for the Pirates are Brandon Henderson (.388, 7 HRs, 37 RBIs), Devin Harris (.365, 10 HRs, 38 RBIs), Ryan Wood (.364, 8 HRs, 39 RBIs), Stephen Batts (.358, 11 HRs, 39 RBIs), Austin Homan (.350, 16 RBIs), Kyle Roller (.341, 12 HRs, 54 RBIs), Drew Schieber (.332, 5 HRs, 46 RBIs), Dustin Harrington (.317, 8 HRs, 36 RBIs), Zach Wright (.300, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs) and Jared Avchen (.287, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs).
ECU returns to Conference USA action next weekend for a three-game series at Houston. After a non-conference game May 12 at UNC-Wilmington, the Pirates end the regular season with a three-game home series (May 14-16) against Memphis.
The C-USA Tournament will be held May 20-24 in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Harrington named to Brooks Wallace Watch List
East Carolina sophomore Dustin Harrington is one of 38 shortstops around the country to be named to the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which will be given to the nation’s top collegiate shortstop, the College Baseball Foundation (CBF) and Mizuno announced Thursday.
Harrington is batting .317 (57-for-180) while setting career-highs in home runs (8), doubles (12), runs scored (39) and RBIs (36). Currently he ranks among the Conference USA leaders in doubles, sac bunts and assists. Harrington opened his sophomore season with an 18-game hitting streak, the sixth longest in school history, and on Tuesday night against Elon recorded his 40th career multi-hit game.
Harrington is joined on the list by C-USA shortstops Rick Hague (Rice) and Josh Prince (Tulane).
For the first time since its creation in 2004, the Wallace Award will honor the country’s finest shortstop. Previously, the Wallace Award was given to the national-player-of-the-year.
The change was made following the creation of the College Baseball Awards Show, in collaboration with the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Dick Howser Trophy Committee. The Howser Trophy has recognized the best overall player in the country for 23 years and will continue to do so. Both the Wallace Award and the Howser Award will be presented as part of the College Baseball Awards Show on July 2 in Lubbock.
C-USA All Games
Rice 11-4 28-10
East Carolina 12-6 32-14
Houston 10-5 21-23
Southern Miss 10-8 27-17
Tulane 7-8 26-19
UAB 6-9 24-20
Memphis 5-10 19-25
Marshall 6-12 17-27
UCF 5-10 16-27
Friday’s Games
Marshall at UCF, 6:30
Louisiana-Lafayette at (22) East Carolina, 7
(2) Rice at Houston (CBS College Sports), 7
Tulane at Southern Miss, 7:30
Memphis at UAB, 8
Saturday’s Games
Louisiana-Lafayette at (22) East Carolina, 3
Memphis at UAB, 3
Marshall at UCF, 4
Tulane at Southern Miss, 5
(2) Rice at Houston (CBS College Sports), 7
Sunday’s Games
Marshall at UCF, 11
Louisiana-Lafayette at (22) East Carolina, 12
(2) Rice at Houston, 2
Tulane at Southern Miss, 2
Memphis at UAB, 2
Tuesday’s Games
Florida International at UCF, 6:30
McNeese State at Houston, 7:30
Texas State at (2) Rice, 7:30
UAB at Jacksonville State, 7:30