Previewing ECU

North Carolina (45-16) hosts East Carolina (46-18) this weekend at Boshamer Stadium in an NCAA Super Regional. The winner will head to the College World Series. Check out the key details to know about UNC's opponent for this best-of-three series ...

Game Schedule
Game 1 - Saturday, Noon - ESPNU
Game 2 - Sunday, Noon - ESPN
Game 3 - Monday, 1:00/7:00 - ESPN/2 (if needed)

East Carolina Pirates

The Pirates head to Chapel Hill after winning the Greenville Regional out of the loser's bracket. The Pirates beat South Carolina twice and played five games in four days while the Tar Heels cruised through three games unscathed. East Carolina tied the deciding game against the Gamecocks with a three-run shot by Devin Harris in the ninth inning before delivering the game winning base hit in the tenth inning to advance.

Head coach Billy Godwin is in his fourth season at the helm for the Pirates, with a 161-88 record at ECU (423-173 career). The Pirates won the Conference USA regular season title this season, then lost two of three games in the conference tournament. The Pirates (46-18) are ranked No, 14 by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball, are ranked No. 15 by Baseball America.

Top Hitters

The Pirates can swing the bats. They have a team batting average of .341 with 107 home runs (compared to UNC's .307, 65) and averaged 8.76 runs per game this season (UNC 7.29).

Senior second baseman Ryan Wood has the team's top batting average at .383. He is tied for second on the squad with 14 home runs, 14 stolen bases and 57 runs batted in. A third team All-American, he hit for the cycle against UNCW on May 12. The versatile Stephen Batts leads the Pirates with 19 stolen bases, is second on the squad with 77 runs scored and third in average batting .358. A senior from Wilmington, he's capable of playing several positions, but is expected to play left field in the Super Regional.

Sophomore outfielder Trent Whitehead leads the team in hits (103) and is second on the squad with a .380 batting average, 14 home runs and 77 runs scored. Kyle Roller is the usual designated hitter and leads the Pirates with 16 home runs and 74 runs batted in while batting .337.

Key Pitchers

Sophomore right handed pitcher Seth Maness is scheduled to start the series opener for the Pirates. Maness is 9-2 with a 4.41 ERA in 15 starts and has struck out 83 batters in 102 innings. He has won seven of his last nine starts, but struggled in his start against South Carolina last weekend, allowing six runs and 11 hits in 6.2 innings.

Kevin Brandt, who was selected this year for the Louisville Slugger/College Baseball All-Freshman Team, is scheduled to start the second game. Tar Heel fans will remember his pitching performance back on April 27, as the left hander earned Conference USA Pitcher of the Week honors in leading the Pirates to a shutout of North Carolina in Greenville. He pitched 8.1 innings in the game, allowing five hits while striking out 10 Tar Heels (and hitting three). For the season Brandt has a 3.52 ERA with five starts and a 9-1 record.

The Pirate closer is sophomore righty Seth Simmons, who has nine saves and a 3.32 ERA in 32 appearances, holding opponents to a .227 batting average.

Interesting Notes

* The Tar Heels lead the Pirates in the all time series, 44-25.

* The two teams split their two games this season. UNC won 3-1 in Chapel Hill on April 7 and ECU won 4-0 on April 22 in Greenville.

* In two head-to-head matchups, both offenses struggled. The Tar Heels batted a combined .175 while the Pirates batted .169.

* Patrick Johnson started both of UNC's games against the Pirates this season, striking out 19 in 12.1 innings

* The Tar Heel's game 1 starter, Alex White, grew up in Greenville, N.C. – the home of the Pirates.

Inside Carolina Top Stories