Pirates prepare for Easter weekend series with Green Wave

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2015

GREENVILLE — This week’s matchup between East Carolina (17-12, 1-2 AAC) and Tulane (19-10, 1-2 AAC) at Clark-LeClair Stadium features two teams with opposing playing styles and strengths.

Though they have seen their fair share of struggles offensively since scoring 41 combined runs against Elon last month, the Pirates sit second in the American Athletic Conference with a .293 team batting average.

A lack of depth and an unfortunate sting of injuries have spearheaded the Pirates’ offensive struggles of late.

Senior shortstop and team captain Hunter Allen has had to play through a torn ligament in his thumb, which head coach Cliff Godwin said will require surgery at seasons end.

“We’re a little banged up with guys that are going through fatigue being halfway through the season,” Godwin said.

Potentially alleviating the pain of the series loss to Memphis last weekend, as well as the Allen injury, is the comfort of not playing a midweek game leading up to the series with Tulane.

“We don’t have a midweek game, so it’s really good for the guys to get their feet back under them,” Godwin said. “It should help get them going for the weekend series here.”

With a streak of low-scoring performances, ECU shouldn’t get much of a break with the Green Wave. Statistically, Tulane is ranked at the top of the AAC in pitching. Led by junior utility pitcher Emerson Gibbs, the Green Wave have a conference-best 2.33 ERA and have allowed just 66 earned runs through their 29 games played.

Gibbs leads the pitching staff with a 1.62 ERA and has tallied 27 strikeouts on his way to a perfect 3-0 record.

Tulane, which spent time in the Conference USA with ECU before making the jump to the AAC with the Pirates, holds a 24-16 all-time record against ECU.

Last season, the Pirates bested the Green Wave during a weekend home series. Tulane, much like ECU, is coming off of a series loss in its conference opener. The Green Wave dropped two games against AAC member Connecticut and scored just eight runs in the three games.

The low-scoring weekend isn’t much of a surprise considering the Green Wave sit second to last in the AAC offensively with a .245 team average. Only one Tulane player, sophomore infielder Stephen Alemais, has a batting average over .280.

With both teams seeking redemption after a disappointing conference-opening weekend, the Pirates and Green Wave will kickoff their second conference series on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.