Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the news and information section for East Carolina University men's and women's sports.
2020 Schedule (PDF)
| 2020 Prospectus (PDF)
| 2020 Fact Book (PDF)
The East Carolina softball program officially took the first steps toward opening the 2020 season with its first team meeting and practice session Tuesday under damp but mild conditions in Greenville.
The Pirates compiled a 23-31 overall mark and 4-17 record in American Athletic Conference play last year and enter the campaign on a two-game winning streak after knocking off Houston on the road in the 2019 season finale and eliminating No. 2 seed and three-time defending champion Tulsa in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Softball Championship. The remainder of the tournament was rained out.
A large number of players return to the roster this season, including four of ECU's top hitters from 2019 and the entire pitching staff. In all, the Pirates welcome back 13 position players and two pitchers while adding eight newcomers.
East Carolina begins the 2020 season with a pair of games at the Kickin' Chicken Classic at St. John Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina University. The Pirates will battle Iowa at 10:30 a.m. before ending the day against Campbell at 3 p.m.
RETURNING PIRATES TO WATCH
THINGS TO NOTE
- Junior right-handed pitcher Erin Poepping made 45 appearances last season (tied for 10th most in a single season in program history) with 33 starts and led East Carolina in earned run average (3.35), wins (15), complete games (19), shutouts (2), strikeouts (164) and innings pitched (215.1). Among American Athletic Conference pitchers, she ranked first in appearances and games started, second in innings pitched, third in strikeouts and strikeouts looking and fourth in wins. Poepping racked up double-digit strikeouts in four games, including a career-high 12 at George Mason. She was named the AAC Pitcher of the Week Feb. 11 after compiling a 3-0 record, 0.46 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings of work at the Spartan Classic.
- Redshirt senior infielder Rachel McCollum led the 2019 squad in doubles (10), RBI (41) and total bases (71) while ranking second in home runs (7) and third in batting average (.299) and hits (47). She finished third among American Athletic Conference hitters in RBI while posting a team-high 12 multi-RBI games and 10 multi-hit efforts. Additionally, McCollum produced a pair of grand slams as part of her offensive output.
- Junior infielder Ashleigh Inae played and started in 53 games as East Carolina's every day shortstop in 2019. She paced the squad in batting average (.322), runs scored (37), on base percentage (.447) and walks drawn (24) while ranking second in hits (49) and doubles (9). Inae also finished tied for fifth among American Athletic Conference batters in walks drawn.
- Head coach Courtney Oliver enters her fifth season at ECU and is just five wins away from her 100th with the program.
- The 2020 unit is filled with experience as over half (14 of 24) of the roster is comprised of upperclassmen.
- After finishing seventh in the 2019 league standings, the conference coaches recently predicted a sixth-place showing for the Pirates in 2020.
- East Carolina will host three round robin tournaments as part of its 28-game home schedule as well as make a trip to Fresno State University during its non-conference slate before entering American Athletic Conference play. In all, ECU will face off against eight squads that participated in NCAA postseason play in 2019.