East Carolina Series Preview

Coming off a scintillating win against the Texas Longhorns and a routine win over Harvard, the Houston Cougars will look to carry their winning ways into C-USA play as they take on the East Carolina Pirates at Cougar Field. The Pirates have been nothing if not consistent over the last decade or so. They have missed the regionals only twice and they have been to the super regionals on two

on two occasions.

But this Pirates team doesn't have the look of a vintage ECU team based on what we have seen so far.

They will come into this series with an 11-10 record. Their signature success so far was a sweep of St. John's, but that's not all that impressive when you consider that the Johnnies are currently 7-11. The Pirates other series wins came against Jacksonville and Monmouth.

That's not to say that ECU doesn't have some talent.

On offense, they feature a couple of very talented hitters.

Shortstop Jack Reinheimer is hitting .338 with nine RBI. Senior Jay Cannon is hitting .303 with two home runs and eight RBI. Bryan Bass and Travis Watkins chip in with .296 and .292 batting averages, respectively.

Collectively, the ECU lineup is not going to bash this team to victory. Their lineup is somewhat top-heavy and outside of Reinheimer, they don't really have a marquee player that can carry an offense.

On the mound, the Pirates lean on a solid weekend rotation.

David Lucroy has been the best of the bunch thus far. The redshirt freshman from Umatilla, Florida is 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA. He has struck out 31 batters in 26.1 innings pitched and opposing hitters have a .159 batting average against him.

Jeff Hoffman is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA. His 27 strikeouts in 33.1 innings are impressive, but his 14 walks in that time aren't as encouraging.

Ryan Williams has a perfect 4-0 record and a 4.15 ERA. Williams doesn't have the high strikeout numbers that Hoffman and Lucroy have, but he has done a fantastic job of avoiding walks. He has only issued six free passes in 34.2 innings.

In the bullpen, Drew Reynolds and Jake Harris have been reliable.

In 10.2 innings over nine appearances, Reynolds has a miniscule 0.84 ERA and six saves.

Harris leads the team in appearances with 11 and gives head coach Bill Godwin a versatile arm to go to, as he can be used in short relief or as a long man.

The best facet of this ECU team might be their defense. They have a .976 fielding percentage as a team. They really aren't going to beat themselves in this phase of the game.

The Cougars will come into this series riding a nice hot streak, having won seven games in a row. I don't think their winning streak will survive the weekend, but I think they will come out with a series win. I'm not all that impressed with anything ECU has done this season, but it's just so hard to sweep anyone in conference play.  

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