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First-place USF to host ECU

Coach Mark Kingston has led the Bulls to a 22-11-1 record and first place in the AAC thus far. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

USF will look to remain atop the AAC standings when it resumes conference play this weekend at home against East Carolina.

On paper, the Pirates (20-13, 3-3) have the advantage in multiple categories, including batting average and ERA.

Perhaps the biggest discrepancy between the teams is the number of players with exceptional batting averages. 

Seven Pirates are batting at least .300, while catcher Levi Borders is the lone Bull to achieve that mark. Borders is hitting .325 and was just a double shy of hitting for the cycle in USF’s previous outing Tuesday.

Left fielder Luke Lowery leads the Pirates with a .381 batting average, eight home runs and 31 RBIs. 

ECU has the second-highest team batting average behind UCF with .296 and the third-lowest ERA at 2.75. 

On the other hand, USF (22-11-1, 5-1) is seventh among eight teams with a .249 batting average and sixth with a 3.93 ERA.

The Bulls have won seven of their past 10 games, but are coming off a 13-7 loss to FIU, whereas the Pirates have lost six of their past 10 games, but are fresh off a 7-5 win over Campbell.

ECU has also had an explosive offense this season. In the Pirates’ 20 wins, they’ve outscored their opponents 166-55. Eleven of those games were won by at least five runs. 

The action begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the USF Baseball Stadium, continues Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.