But now, after four straight wins and a thrilling walk-off home run on Tuesday, the Pirates (21-20, 6-6) have a new sense of motivation in a season that still has plenty of room for change. Now they welcome the Memphis Tigers to Clark-LeClair Stadium in a pivotal three-game series.
ECU has been on a slow rise in the Conference USA standings, and a series win here could continue the climb to the upper echelon. But that will be no easy task against a Memphis team that has had 22 of its games decided by two runs or less.
The Tigers will go with a weekend rotation of Erik Schoenrock (5-3, 2.87 ERA), Sam Moll (6-3, 2.42 ERA) and Alex Gunn (3-2, 1.95 ERA) on the mound. Memphis closer Jonathan Van Eaton has eight career saves, already surpassing the school record of seven on the year.
Jacob Wilson leads the Tigers with a team-high 17 home runs and 64 RBIs. Wilson boasts a .320 batting average, only bested by the Tigers' Adam McClain (.392) and Eli Hines (.352).
The Pirates will combat these hitters with a rotation of Jeff Hoffman (4-4, 2.84 ERA), David Lucroy (4-1, 2.01 ERA) and Ryan Williams (5-2, 4.32 ERA). Hoffman leads the team with 57 strikeouts, but the young Lucroy has 53 strikeouts in almost 20 less innings. ECU closer Drew Reynolds matches Van Eaton's eight saves on the year.
The Pirates have no players on offense that have over a .300 batting average. But the offense is led by Travis Watkins (.289), Bryan Bass (.279) and Jack Reinheimer (.278). Chase McDonald leads the team with six home runs and 28 RBIs.
The first game of the series starts this Friday at 6 p.m. That game is followed by the Saturday game at 2 p.m. and the Sunday game at 1 p.m.