GREENVILLE, N.C. - For the second time in the 2011 season, East Carolina has received votes in both of this week’s national softball polls. The Pirates collected four in the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls. In the preseason rankings, ECU picked up four (USA Today/NFCA) and two (ESPN.com/USA Softball) votes.
This week marks the first time the Pirates have been listed in a regular-season poll since May 18, 2010, when the squad received one in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. ECU has not entered the Top 25 of the USA Today/NFCA poll since 2000 and has never appeared in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
East Carolina (28-10) is coming off its first Conference USA series sweep of the season, defeating Southern Miss 6-0, 5-1 and 8-1 last weekend. The Pirates also claimed both of the league’s weekly awards as senior Toni Paisley was named the C-USA Co-Pitcher-of-the-Week and junior left fielder Suzanne Riggs was tabbed as the Hitter-of-the-Week. Paisley threw the sixth no-hitter of her career in Saturday’s opener and Riggs drove in two runs in each game while hitting .500 for the series.
The Pirates return to action Wednesday with a 5:00 p.m. nonconference game at rival UNC Wilmington (8-28). East Carolina is looking to extend its recent success against in-state opponents, having claimed the last 16 matchups versus programs from North Carolina and outscoring them 103-12.