March 25, 2006
HOUSTON, Texas - Jordan Dodson's two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning proved to be the winning run as Rice held off a late East Carolina rally for an 8-5 win Saturday afternoon in Conference USA play at Reckling Park.
ECU (17-8, 1-1) got five strong innings from starter Dustin Sasser, who fell to 4-3 on the season. Sasser allowed three runs on six hits while striking out three and walking three. Senior Carter Harrell came into relieve Sasser in the bottom of the sixth facing two batters before giving way to Scott Andrews, who tossed three innings of relief allowing three runs.
The Pirates pounded out nine hits on the day getting two each from Dale Mollenhauer (2-for-4), Harrison Eldridge (2-for-3) and Ryan Wood (2-for-4). Jake Smith, Adam Witter and Jamie Ray also added hits in the game.
Craig Crow improved to 3-1 on the season after tossing six scoreless innings and allowing five hits with eight strikeouts. Bobby Bramhall pitched 1 2/3's giving up three runs, while Bobby Bell notched his first save of the season working 1 1/3 innings and giving up two runs.
The Owls (19-8, 1-1) had six players record two hits and were led by Aaron Luna (2-for-3) and Jordan Dodson (2-for-4) who each hit home runs in the game.
Luna got the scoring going in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to right field for a 1-0 lead.
The Owls plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth when Josh Rodriguez singled through the left side scoring Brian Friday. The next batter, Danny Lehman, also singled to left to score Rodriguez from second for a 3-0 lead.
Rice pushed over a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 5-0.
Eldridge drove in the Pirates first run of the game in the top of the eighth with a stand-up double that scored Witter from second and put runners on second and third with no outs. Brandon Henderson then scored the second run of the inning on a Ray ground out to second, which moved Eldridge to third. Wood collected his second hit of the day, a double to score Eldridge to make the game 5-3.
In the top of the ninth ECU plated two more runs to close the game at 8-5.
The Pirates and Owls will conclude the Conference USA opening series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (EST).