Pirates looking to climb the CUSA ranks

Tied for the least amount of wins in CUSA, ECU and UAB are set to compete in Alabama.

After yet another mid-week loss, The Pirate baseball team (17-20, 3-6) is in dire need of a successful weekend against a very beatable opponent. ECU travels to face the UAB Blazers (16-21, 3-6), who also sit at the bottom half of the Conference USA standings.

The winning team in this series could catapult itself out of the conference cellar.

The Blazers have recorded series losses to UCF and Memphis while beating Marshall two games to one in Conference USA action. They enter the series against ECU coming off of a 7-4 loss to Alabama.

UAB will likely call pitchers Tanner Bryant (2-4, 4.73 ERA) and Sam Kelley (3-3, 2.70 ERA) to the mound for the first two games. Bryant has given up 27 runs on 40 hits, with a team-high 33 strikeouts in 45.2 innings. Kelley's ERA is the best on the team, as he has only given up 19 runs on 36 hits. The Blazers' Sunday starter is still to be determined.

The Pirates will call on the familiar weekend rotation of Jeff Hoffman (3-4, 2.77 ERA), David Lucroy (3-1, 2.09 ERA) and Ryan Williams (5-2, 4.24 ERA) to pitch against the Blazers. Hoffman has thrown a team-high 50 strikeouts in a team-high 65 innings of work. Lucroy has thrown 47 strikeouts in almost twenty less innings (47.1). Williams has slipped as off late after starting off the season 4-0.

To face the ECU pitchers, UAB has a few batters currently on hot streaks. Chase Davis owns a .432 batting average in the last 10 games (.317 overall), including three doubles, a triple and two RBIs. Batters John Frost and Ryan Prinzing both have 9 RBIs in their last nine C-USA games.

Travis Watkins leads the Pirates' offense with a .300 batting average, but Chase McDonald has a team-high five runs and 23 RBIs. Seven ECU batters are hitting over .250 in total.

The Pirates lead the overall series 26-5 against the Blazers. The first game on Friday, April 19, is set to start at 7:30 p.m. Games follow on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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