Pirates face first road series

ECU baseball travels to Jacksonville to take on the Dolphins for the Pirates first road series.

ECU baseball is doing something different this weekend. The team is preparing for its first road series against the Jacksonville Dolphins, after playing 15 of its first 16 games at home.

Both teams are entering the game on losing streaks, with ECU losing its last two games against ODU and Campbell and Jacksonville losing three straight to UCF (twice) and Bethune-Cookman.

The Dolphins (5-12) have played a tough schedule to open their season, highlighted by a 9-7 loss to No. 9 Florida State. Jacksonville holds wins over Radford, Richmond (2), TCU and UCF so far this season. The Dolphins also played the Florida Gators twice, showing that they aren't afraid of playing the bigger schools in their state.

Zach Houck steadies Jacksonville at the plate, batting .308 with six runs scored. Drew Luther leads the team with 10 RBIs while batting .296 with five doubles. Brady North has hit three home runs to lead the team, but has a batting average of just .169 on the year. The Dolphins' Jake Huxtable has hit .292 with two home runs and four RBIs on just 24 at bats. Huxtable could be a player to watch this weekend.

Jacksonville's Chris Anderson has done it all for the Dolphins on the mound, leading the team with 31 innings pitched including a complete game. Anderson (2-1, 0.87 ERA) has struck out 45 batters, with 29 more strikeouts than the next closest pitcher on Jacksonville's roster.

The Dolphins have several other pitchers to watch for, including Alex Mcrae (1-1, 3.95 ERA, 12 earned runs and 12 strikeouts in 27.1 innings), Zach Gordon (1-3, 5.40 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings) and Wes Torrez (0-1, 7.02 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 16.2 innings).

The Pirates hope to continue their weekend success. Jack Reinheimer, who holds a .345 batting average with two doubles, a home run and seven RBIs, will lead ECU on offense. Pirate batters Nick Thompson (.342), Bryan Bass (.333) and Travis Watkins (.306) round out the ECU batters with averages over three hundred. Chase McDonald leads the team with 13 RBIs on the year.

ECU is likely to start Jeff Hoffman (2-1), Ryan Williams (3-0) and David Lucroy (2-1) on the mound this weekend. Lucroy leads the team with 24 strikeouts, followed by 22 from Hoffman. Also look for utility man Drew Reynolds to make an appearance in relief, as he leads the team with five saves.

The series begins on Friday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

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