One of East Carolina's top pitching performances of the season came against No. 19 Southern Miss at the 2011 Conference USA Baseball Championships in Pearl, Miss. Senior Seth Maness (9-3) tossed his sixth career complete game (fourth of the season) in a two-hit shutout against the Golden Eagles.
Maness, who struck out nine on the night, sat down the first eight batters he faced before giving up a two-out single in the third. He pitched his way out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the fourth with a fielders' choice ground ball and an inning-ending double play to start a streak of five consecutive batters retired.
After a leadoff double by Southern Miss' Justin Diliberto - the same guy who broke-up the no-hit bid back in the third - Maness tallied six consecutive outs and issued his lone walk of the day to Mark Ellis to open the eighth. That would be the final Golden Eagle to reach base safely as Maness sandwiched a pair of punch-outs around a fielders' choice groundout in the eighth and tossed a three-up, three-down ninth to wrap up his fourth complete game of the season and put the stamp on his second shutout of the year.
Maness' punch-out total gave him 330 for his career which tied the ECU record established by Larry Crayton from 1959-61. The decision was his 37th win, as Maness moved into second place on the C-USA all-time victory list - one shy of Jared Berkowitz of Tulane's 38 from 1997-2000. During his four-year career, Maness posted a 24-5 ledger against C-USA teams with a 3.39 ERA, 179 strikeouts and 45 walks.
ECU right fielder Philip Clark went 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of RBI to lead the Pirates' offensive efforts. The game, however, belonged to Maness as the senior right-hander faced just four more than the minimum and never saw more than four Golden Eagle hitters in any inning.
Southern Miss starter Josh Thomason matched Maness step-for-step over the first four innings, but the Pirate offense got things going in the top of the fifth when Mike Ussery hit a one-out single up the middle and came around to score on a double down the left field line by Clark in the ensuing at-bat. Corey Thompson followed with an RBI-since to right central to make it 2-0.
Two innings later, John Wooten opened the seventh with a single, advanced the bases on a Jack Reinheimer sacrifice bunt and a groundout by Ussery, and scored on a Clark RBI-single to stretch the lead to three. Golden Eagles reliever Dillon Day nearly posted a perfect eighth by retiring the first two batters he faced and getting Fultz to strikeout swinging. The pitch, however, sailed wide of catcher Jared Bales, and the Pirates made the miscue hurt as designated hitter Chase McDonald smoked a 1-0 offering from Day into right centerfield to account for the final score.
Thomason (2-2) was saddled with the loss after giving up three runs on 10 hits while striking out three in a 7.0-inning start. Diliberto had two of the Golden Eagles' three hit hits.
Top 11 Moments of the 2011 Baseball Season
3. Seth Maness' complete game shutout against No. 19 Southern Miss (May 27, 2011)
4. ECU's 10th inning come from behind win at Marshall (May 6, 2011)
5. Corey Thompson's two RBI double lifts ECU past Tulane at C-USA Tournament (May 26, 2011)
6. Seth Maness' complete game shutout against Pepperdine (Mar. 4, 2011)
7. Austin Homan becomes first two-time recipient of the honorary No. 23 jersey
8. Kevin Brandt strikes out 12 against Rutgers (Mar. 20, 2011)
9. Zach Wright's three game-winning home runs
10. ECU scores 20 runs on 20 hits against UNCW (Mar. 29, 2011)
11. Seth Simmons becomes ECU's all-time saves leader (Mar. 19, 2011)