ECU Holds On To Take Game Three, 7-6
May 1, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - John Wooten drove in three runs, while Corey Thompson and Mike Ussery added a pair of RBI as No. 29 East Carolina (28-16, 9-9) defeated No. 15 Southern Miss (32-11, 11-4) 7-6 Sunday afternoon in Conference USA action at Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
ECU, who jumped out to a 7-0 lead after a five-run fourth, held off a ferocious Southern Miss comeback where they cut the lead to one, 7-6, in the ninth after three consecutive two-out RBI base hits. Brad Mincey entered the game with two outs and got Ashley Graeter to fly out to left field with the tying run 90 feet away and the game-winning run standing on second to record his first save of the season.
Seth Maness (6-3) returned to the hill after missing a start at Houston due to injury and worked four scoreless innings allowing four hits with a walk and two punch outs on a predetermined pitch count. For Maness it is his 34th career win which pulls him within one of tying Winfred Johnson (35 from 1983-86) for first all-time at ECU. Shawn Armstrong toed the rubber for 3.2 innings allowing three runs (all earned) on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts, while Seth Simmons gave up three runs (all earned) on three hits with three free passes and three strikeouts. Mincey faced one batter recording his second career save.
Boomer Scarborough (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing two runs (both earned) on two this in 2.2 innings. Chase Horn, who held the Pirates scoreless in an inning of work on Friday night, was roughed up for five runs (four earned) on three hits with a pair of walks in a third of an inning. Southern Miss would use five more hurlers over the final five frames holding ECU scoreless.
Thompson and Wooten each had RBI singles in the bottom of the third stanza giving ECU an early 2-0 lead. Austin Homan reached first after being hit by a pitch and too second on Philip Clark's sac bunt back to Scarborough. After Trent Whitehead drew a two-out walk, Thompson singled to right center scoring Homan for ECU's first lead of the series. Wooten immediately followed with an RBI single up the middle pushing across Whitehead.
ECU extended its lead to 7-0 in the fourth thanks RBI singles by Mike Ussery, Thompson and Wooten. With the bases loaded, Ussery sent a shot back up the middle scoring Jack Reinheimer and Clark for a 4-0 advantage. Whitehead followed with a walk to load the bases for Thompson, who singled through the left side on a soft grounder scoring Clark. Wooten capped ECU's scoring with another two-RBI base hit to right field bringing Ussery and Whitehead home.
The Golden Eagles cut the lead to four, 7-3, after scoring three runs in the eighth with two outs. B.A. Vollmuth doubled down the right field line scoring Kameron Brunty. Marc Bourgeois followed with an RBI single up the middle scoring Vollmuth and Isaac Rodriguez added another RBI base hit pushing across Bourgeois.
In the top of the ninth, USM scored another three runs with two outs to pull within one, 7-6. Rodriguez singled through the left side with the bases loaded plating Brunty and Vollmuth before Adam Doleac doubled down the left filed line scoring Bourgeois to make it a one-run game.
ECU collected double-digit hits for the 21st time this season with Wooten leading the way with a 3-for-4 performance. Thompson and Reinheimer each had a pair of base knocks, while Clark, Homan (double) and Ussery added a hit. Eight of the Pirates nine starters reached base in the game and Whitehead drew a pair of walks.
The Pirates will be back in action on Friday, May 6 when they travel to Charleston, WVa. to take on Marshall in the first of three league games at Appalachian Power Park.