Ray's Grand Slam Lifts Pirates Over Cougars 6-3
May 5, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - Jamie Ray's grand slam in the top of the ninth sparked a five-run rally as East Carolina came from behind to secure the series win over Houston Saturday night 6-3 at Cougar Field in Conference USA action.
With the win, the Pirates move to within a half game behind Houston and Memphis in the C-USA standings.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the ninth, Stephen Batts singled to left field with two strikes to start the Pirates (31-15, 9-7) comeback. Corey Kemp followed with a walk and pinch hitter Brandon Henderson moved the runners up to second and third with a sac bunt. Jake Dean drew another walk as a he pinch hit for Drew Schieber leading up to Ray's second home run of the year on a first pitch offering, which put the score at 5-2. Harrison Eldridge, who went 3-for-5 on the night, cranked a solo home run to right field to cap the scoring at 6-2.
Josh Ruhlman improved to 4-0 after working two innings of relief where he allowed one run on two hits with two walks. ECU starter Dustin Sasser worked 6 2/3 innings allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and six walks before giving way to Bailey Daniels in the seventh. Daniels lasted one-third of an inning and was replaced by Ruhlman.
Chris Wright dropped to 3-2 after blowing the save in the ninth allowing five runs on three hits with two walks. Wes Musick went eight innings giving up one run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Houston (25-21, 10-7) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning thanks to a one-out single to right center from Dustin Kingsbury. Bryan Tully singled through the right side then moved over to second on Jimmy Cesario's single to right. Kingsbury drove in the first run that plated Tully.
Kyle Roller tied the game up at one in the top of the fourth when he roped a triple, his second of the year, to left-center that scored Ryan Tousely from second. Tousley led off the inning with a double down the left line.
Houston took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh on a passed ball that David Forbes could not handle that scored Ryan Lormand from third. With two outs Lormand singled through the right side then advanced to second on Tully walk. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a double steal to set up the go ahead run.
Eldridge led the Pirates with three hits, while Tousley picked up his second straight two-hit game of the series. Ray went 1-for-4 with four RBI, while Eldridge and Roller each drove in runs.
ECU will look for the series sweep Sunday afternoon when the two teams meet for game three at 1 p.m. (EDT). The Pirates will send sophomore Josh Dowdy to the hill, while Houston will counter with John Touchton.