ECU Rally Falls Short In Ninth Inning, 3-1
April 7, 2009
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina sophomore Patrick Johnson tossed 6 1/3 hitless innings and struck out a career-high 11 East Carolina hitters as the 14-ranked Pirates fell to No. 2 UNC, 3-1, at Boshamer Stadium Wednesday night. With the win UNC improves to 25-7 and ECU falls to 25-6.
Johnson (2-0) retired the first seven batters before walking Austin Homan in the third frame. On the night, the right-hander allowed just one hit and three walks to go with his 11 punch outs. A quartet of Tar Heels closed out the game on the mound allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Logan Munson, who surrendered the only run of the night recording his second save of the season.
In his first collegiate start, Patrick Somers (2-2) worked six strong innings allowing two runs (all unearned) on five hits with four walks and a career-best six strikeouts. Bailey Daniels made his 16th appearance of the year working one-third of an inning before passing the ball to freshman Kevin Brandt in the sixth, who allowed one hit and fanned three hitters in 1 2/3 innings.
UNC struck first plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-0 lead. Garrett Gore singled through the left side with two outs then scored when Devin Harris dropped a routine fly ball in right off the bat of Dustin Ackley, who advanced to second base. Levi Michael was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second just before Kyle Seager singled home Ackley from second base to cap the scoring.
Harris broke up Johnson's no-hit bid in the seventh with a one-out single to left. One out later Homan drew his third walk of the game to put an ECU runner in scoring position for the first time. However, the scoring threat was thwarted as Dustin Harrington's drive to right field was caught on the warning track.
The Tar Heels added to their total with a run in the seventh. After Gore reached on a leadoff error and moved over to second following a one-out walk, Seager plated Gore with a hit to left putting two runners in scoring position. Brandt would settle down and retire the next two batters to end the inning.
Ryan Wood recorded the Pirates second hit of the night in the eighth with a double to left to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.
The Pirates finally broke through with a run in the ninth as Harris scored on an RBI-single to center from Harrington. Harris and Jared Avchen led off the frame by drawing back-to-back walks before Homan singled to load the bases.
Pinch runner Cam Freeman was caught in a run down after some confusion on the basepath's at second base on Harrington's single and was tagged out for the first out of the ninth, leaving runners at the corners. Trent Whitehead then softly ground into a game-ending double play, ending the Pirates' five-game winning streak.
ECU will be back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to Wilmington, N.C. to face in-state foe UNC Wilmington. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT.