GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina softball team hosts its third-straight tournament this weekend in the Pirate Invitational from Feb. 22-24 at ECU Softball Stadium. The Pirates won two of three games at the weather-shortened Pirate Clash last weekend and have started the season with a record of 5-3.
The other teams in the field for the Pirate Invitational include Fairfield, Lehigh, Liberty and Notre Dame. ECU begins the tournament with a contest against Lehigh at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the opener of team’s two games on the first day. East Carolina also hosts Fairfield at 4:30 p.m. in the nightcap. The Pirates have a pair of games scheduled for Feb. 23 starting at 3:30 p.m. with a rematch against Lehigh. It is a quick turnaround later that evening with ECU scheduled to take on Notre Dame at 5:30 p.m. East Carolina wraps up play in the tournament with a contest against Liberty at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24.
Gametracker live stats will be available for all 12 games of the Pirate Invitational through the tournament central page. Live in-game updates for all East Carolina softball games can be accessed through the ECU Softball Twitter feed (@ECUSoftball). The Pirates will also have live video streaming and internet-only audio for all five ECU games over the weekend.
Pirates Go 2-1 At Pirate Clash
After losing the first game of the tournament to St. John’s, East Carolina rallied to defeat Georgetown and St. John’s in the final two games … Junior Alex Fieldhouse drove in the game-winning run in the 3-1 win against the Hoyas with her third inning home run … Sophomore Sarah Christian picked up the victory in throwing a complete game with only allowing one run on three hits against the Hoyas … Jordan Lewis’ first inning single up the middle to drive in Fieldhouse was all the offense that was needed in the thrilling 1-0 victory over the Red Storm on Saturday, Feb. 16 … Sophomore Courtney Smith threw the first three innings for ECU against St. John’s and registered a career-high five strikeouts … Smith was then relieved by Christian, who picked up the win with four scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
A Familiar Sight
The Pirates are 5-3 on the season for the second straight year and third time since 2000 ... The program has started with five or more wins in the first eight games a total of 10 times since 2000, including a perfect 8-0 record twice.
Offense Stepping Up
East Carolina’s offense has had a strong start to the season with a .287 team batting average … The batting average is the highest for the program after eight games since 2008 and the fifth time that the team average has been over .280 upon completion of eight games over the last 10 years … The program’s nine doubles are also the most after eight contests since 2004 … The 58 hits, so far, are the most since the 2008 team had 62 … The 90 total bases are the highest number since 2008 and marks the fifth time with 90 or more total bases in the first eight games in the last 10 seasons.
Magic of The Fifth Inning
East Carolina has outscored its opponents 36-26 this season and holds an advantage in scoring in three of those innings ... The Pirates have really done damaged in the fifth inning with a positive run differential of nine runs (13-4) ... ECU has been outscored in two innings on the campaign - by two runs in the first (7-5) and one tally in the sixth (6-5).
National Television Exposure
East Carolina's softball team will be making a television appearance for the fourth straight season when the program takes on UAB on the road on March 17 ... The game will be broadcasted by FOX Sports Network at noon (ET) ... In 2012, ECU had a television game against Houston on FSN … The Pirates were also broadcasted in both 2010 and 2011 for the Conference USA Championship game (shown by CBS Sports Network) ... The Pirates are one of only six softball programs from the league that were chosen to be on TV during the 2013 regular season.
Oshiro Stays Hot
Kristi Oshiro continued her hot hitting and went 5-for-9 (.556) at the plate with another triple, two runs and two more RBI at the Pirate Clash ... On the season, she is hitting .520 with 13 hits, three doubles, three triples, 22 total bases, a slugging percentage of .880 and on-base percentage of .538 ... She currently leads the entire conference in batting average, on-base percentage, triples and slugging percentage.
This And That
The Pirates blanked St. John's by a score 1-0 on Feb. 16 and have now recorded a pair of shutouts on the season in eight games, after totaling three in 53 games last season ... Alex Fieldhouse drew three walks against St. John's (2/16) and was the first Pirate to total three free-passes in a game since Kai Clark walked three times against UNC Wilmington last season (3/28/12) ... Fieldhouse also stole a pair of bases against the Red Storm in the same contest and was the first ECU player to accomplish the feat since Rebecca Lee also stole a pair of bases against Houston last season (4/14/12) ... Kristi Oshiro (second base), Jill Jelnick (left field) and Alex Fieldhouse (third base) are the only three players on the team to start at the same position in the field in each of the first eight games of the campaign.
The Pirates, after the second week of softball action, have several players that are ranked highly in the conference ...
Junior Kristi Oshiro leads the conference in batting average (.520), triples (3), slugging percentage (.880) and on-base percentage (.538) ... She is tied for the lead in runs scored (9), tied for second in hits (13), third in total bases (22), fourth in sacrifice bunts (2) and tied for fifth in doubles (3) ... Junior Alex Fieldhouse is second in the league in batting average (.450), slugging percentage (.850), on-base percentage (.519) and sacrifice flies (2) ... She is also tied for fifth in doubles (3), seventh in total bases (17), eighth in home runs (1), tied for ninth in walks (5) and 10th in RBI (6) ... Freshman Casey Alcorn is third in on-base percentage (.500), tied for fifth in slugging percentage (.750) and doubles (3) plus eighth in batting average (.375) ... Junior Jill Jelnick is tied for fifth in runs scored (7) and stolen bases (3) ... Junior Jasmine Robbins is tied for second in hit by pitch (2) ... Senior Kai Clark is tied for eighth in home runs (1) ... Sophomore Sarah Christian is tied for the league lead in wins (4) plus sixth in ERA (1.62), innings pitched (30.1) and opposing batting average (.198) … She is also seventh in appearances (6) and ninth in strikeouts (22).
The Mountain Hawks begin the 2013 campaign at the Pirate Invitational this week … Lehigh is coming off a 2012 season where the program went 40-19 and 18-2 in the Patriot League … The Mountain Hawks are again picked to win the conference for the third straight season … The program also has both the preseason choice for player-of-the-year, Liz Lucas, and pitcher-of-the-year, Becca Bliss, in the conference … Lucas hit .348 with 19 runs, 57 hits, 14 doubles and 40 RBI last season … Bliss won 19 games and recorded 20 complete games and 10 shutouts in 172 innings worked as a junior … Lehigh is coached by Fran Troyan … Troyan is entering his 18th year in charge of the program and has a record of 578-312-5 … ECU leads the all-time series by a 3-0 count … The last meeting occurred in 2011 with East Carolina winning by a 8-0 score at the Pirate Classic.
The Stags are also opening the 2013 campaign at the Pirate Invitational ... Fairfield, who went 31-27 overall and 11-5 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), return four of the programs top five hitters and both primary pitchers ... Kristen Filicia hit .314 with 58 hits, 13 doubles, 26 walks and 24 stolen bases ... Sami Ruffolo hit .295 with 45 hits, 12 walks and 16 stolen bases ... Lauren Liseth had six home runs, seven doubles, a triple and 32 RBI as sophomore ... Rebecca Trott won 17 games, with 18 complete games and a 151 strikeouts in her 201.2 innings thrown in 2012 ... Fairfield is coached by Julie Brzezinski, who is entering her 16th as a collegiate head coach … The Pirates lead the all-time series with the Stags by a 10-1 count and have won the last eight meetings … The last time these two programs met on the field was a 9-0 ECU win in 2011.
Scouting Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish have spent each of the first two weekends of the season traveling from coast to coast ... Notre Dame started the season playing at the Charlotte First Pitch Classic from Feb. 9-10 ... ND then traveled to California last weekend for the Campbell/Cartier Classic ... Notre Dame went 2-3 at last weekend’s tournament with two of the loss coming to teams ranked in the top 25 ... Jenna Simon is providing speed at the top of the lineup with her .409 batting average and five stolen bases ... The pitching staff has been led in the early going by Brittany O'Donnell, who is 3-1 with a 2.26 ERA and 19 strikeouts in her 21.1 innings worked ... The workhorse of the staff has been Laura Winter ... Winter has completed three of her five starts in the circle this year with 50 strikeouts in 37 innings worked ... The Irish are coached by Deanna Gumpf, who is now in her 12th season in charge of the program and has made 11 straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament ... The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series 2-0, but both games have been one-run contests … The last meeting was a 2-1 Notre Dame win in 2009 at the Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Flames started their season last weekend at the Kennesaw State Classic ... Liberty began the tournament falling to Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky and SIU Edwardsville, before defeating IUPUI 5-2 on the final day of the action ... Hanna Nichols is the team's current leader with a .667 (4-for-6), a home run and three RBI ... Three different members of the squad have five hits including 2012 All-Big South Second Team selection Katie Zavodny ... Annah Jo Brittingham is the leader in the circle with her 1-1 record, 14 innings pitched and 4.00 ERA ... Liberty is coached by Paul Wetmore, who is in his 20th season in charge of the program and has been head coach since softball was restarted in Lynchburg, Va. in 1994 ... The two schools have met often over the years with ECU leading the all-time series by a 35-3 count … The last meeting saw the Pirates defeat the Flames by a 7-3 score at the Pirate Clash in 2008.
After this weekend’s action, the Pirates begin a nearly month-long road trip and travel to Elon for a midweek game on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m.