Jared Avchen (File Photo)
April 25, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas - Jimmy Comerota's bases clearing double highlighted a five-run fourth inning as Rice went on to complete the Conference USA series sweep of No. 21 East Carolina Sunday afternoon 11-9 at Reckling Park. The Owls improve to 26-16 on the season and 11-4 in league play, while the Pirates drop its fifth-straight game and fall to 24-17 and 6-6.
Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Rice regained the lead, 6-5, pushing across five runs and never looked back. Rick Hague singled up the middle, took second on a passed ball and third on Jeremy Rathjen's single through the left side before crossing home on Anthony Rendon's base hit to right. Diego Seastrunk followed Rendon with a walk and Comerota's two-base hit to left center pushed across all three runners. Comerota moved over to third on Michael Ratterree's grounded out to second and came home on Steve Sultzbaugh's sac fly.
Doug Simmons (4-0) picked up his second win of the series working two innings of scoreless relief with two walks. Tyler Duffy recorded his fourth save of the season working the final two-third's allowing a run on two hits. Starter Jared Rogers lasted 2 2/3 innings allowing two runs on five hits with a strikeout before being lifted for Boogie Anagnostou, who allowed three runs on two hits in two-third's of an inning. Abe Gonzales was touched for three runs on six hits in three innings.
Kevin Brandt (3-5) suffered the loss after giving up six runs (all earned) on seven hits in three innings of work. Shawn Armstrong made his 15th appearance of the year working three innings of relief where he allowed three runs on three hits. Jake Harris (2 H, 1 R) and Mike Wright (1 H, 1 R) each tossed an inning of relief for the Pirates out of the bullpen.
Rathjen's RBI single to right field put the Owls up 1-0 in the first inning. Chad Mozingo singled to left field to start the inning then took second when Rick Hague grounded out to the pitcher and came around to score on Rathjen's shot to right, where he tried to stretch a single into a double and was gunned out by Zach Wright at second.
Philip Clark's second career home run pulled the Pirates even with the Owls in the second inning. With two outs Clark, who extended his hit streak to five games, took a first pitch offering from Rogers to right field just below the scoreboard that wasted little time in getting out of the ball park.
ECU took a 2-1 lead in the third when Trent Whitehead scored on a RBI groundout by Kyle Roller. Whitehead walked to start the frame then took second on Corey Thompson's sac bunt. A wild pitch pushed Whitehead to third before Roller grounded out to the pitcher.
Thompson pushed ECU's lead to four, 5-1, when he took a 2-2 offering from Anagnostou to straight away center field for a three-run shot. Cam Freeman doubled to left center, Whitehead followed with a walk and both runners moved into scoring position on a double steal before Thompson cranked his fourth homer of the season.
Michael Fuda and Rathjen smacked home runs in the seventh stanza to extend the Owls lead to 10-5. Ratterree singled up the middle to start the inning and Fuda unleashed on an Armstrong pitch to left field for his fourth home run of the year. Sultzbaugh followed with a triple and came home on Mozingo's sac fly to center. With two outs, Rathjen hammered a Harris pitch down the left field line for the final run of the frame.
Fuda hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth, a solo shot to center, giving Rice an 11-5 advantage.
Jared Avchen's three-run homer in the top of the eighth was the highlight of a four-run Pirate frame that cut the Owls lead to two, 11-9. Austin Homan reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on Devin Harris' single to right before crossing home on Avchen's fourth homer of the season. Clark was plunked by a Gonzales pitch, moved to second on Freeman's single through the left side and came home on Thompson's single for the games final run.
For the first time in the series the Pirates out hit the Owls collecting 15 base knocks. Thompson and Wooten led the way with three each, while Freeman and Whitehead had two hits apiece.
ECU will be back in action on Tuesday, Apr. 27 when they travel to in-state foe UNC Wilmington with a 6 p.m. (EDT) first pitch scheduled.