ECU Downs Marshall In 10 Innings, 9-8
May 7, 2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -East Carolina (29-16, 10-9) scored six runs in the ninth, five with two-outs, to send the Conference USA series opener against Marshall (17-25, 4-12) into extra innings before Zach Wright belted the game-winning home run to leadoff the 10th giving the Pirates a 9-8 come from behind win over the Herd at Appalachian Power Park Friday night.
With the game knotted at eight going to the 10th, Wright sent a first pitch offering from Josh King over the left field wall on a no-doubter home run giving the Pirates their first lead of the game. For Wright it was his lone hit of the evening, 11th home run of the season and third round tripper in which the Pirates took the lead in their final at-bat (Memphis and UAB).
After ECU took a 9-8 lead in the top half of the 10th, Marshall's game tying rally was halted when James Lavinskas' line drive was caught by a diving Austin Homan at first base securing the win with the potential game-tying run on second base in Rhett Stafford.
Brad Mincey improved to 5-2 on the year recording his fifth win out of the bullpen where he tossed 2.0 shutout innings allowing three hits, one walk and striking out one. Pirate starter Mike Wright had his shortest outing of the year working 4.0 innings where he gave up a season-high six runs (all earned) on a season-high nine hits. The 6-foot-5 right-hander also struck out five and walked two.
Freshman Austin Chrismon halted Marshall's potential offensive explosion in the fifth entering the game with the bases loaded and no outs and promptly striking out Gray Stafford before getting Thor Meeks to ground out to short and Eric Semeniuk to pop up to first to end the threat. In all, he worked two frames allowing one run (earned) on two hits. Mike Anderson worked a scoreless seventh, while freshman Drew Reynolds made his collegiate pitching debut tossing the eighth frame where he gave up a two-out solo home run to Rhett Stafford.
King, Marshall's sixth hurler on the night, suffered the loss and fell to 2-2 on the year. Aaron Blair tossed six shutout innings allowing seven hits and fanning a career-best six batters before being lifted for Joe Hollowell, who started the seventh. Hollowell worked two-third's of an inning passing the ball off to Austin Pratt in the seventh, who allowed two runs (both unearned) on one hit in 1.1 innings. Shane Farrell was touched for four runs (all earned) on one hit with two walks in two-third's of an innings, while Ian Kadish did not record an out in his 20th appearance of the season where he allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits.
Trailing 8-2 going to the ninth, ECU tied the game at eight after scoring six runs on five hits. With the bases loaded and one out, Jack Reinheimer pushed across Homan on a fielder's choice cutting the lead to five, 8-3. Philip Clark drew a two-out walk loading the bases for pinch hitter freshman Jonathan Holt who ripped two-RBI single to center that scored Wright and Reinheimer pulling ECU within three, 8-5.
The rally continued when Ben Fultz singled to left plating Clark and Corey Thompson delivered an RBI single to left center scoring Holt from second base to pull within one, 8-7. After a Herd pitching change, Trent Whitehead singled through the right side scoring Fultz to tie the game at eight.
In the bottom half of the ninth with two outs, Justin Maynard tried to score from first base on Victor Ramos double to left, but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from Reinheimer to Wright ending the game-winning threat.
Marshall jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI single by Kenny Socorro that scored Ramos and a two RBI single to right center by Gray Stafford that pushed across Socorro and his brother, Rhett Stafford.
The Herd padded their lead with another three-spot in the fifth for a 6-0 advantage. Isaac Ballou legged out an opening frame triple to left field a scored on an infield single by Socorro. Rhett Stafford and Victor Gomez followed with base hits to load the bases for pinch hitter Nathan Gomez, Victor's younger brother, who drew a walk scoring Socorro. The final run came when Meeks ground out to short off Chrismon with one out.
Down by seven in the eighth, ECU scratched across a pair of runs cutting the lead to five, 7-2. Wright reached on an error by Gray Stafford at third and landed on third base when reached on another error in the frame, this time by Ramos putting runners in scoring position with no outs. Clark, who was 3-for-5 on the night, singled home Wright for ECU's first run and Mike Ussery walked to load the bases for Fultz' sac fly to left that plated McDonald to cap the scoring.
Nine different Pirates recorded hits on the night and were led by Clark and Whitehead's three-hit performance. Thompson, who extended his hit streak to 10 games in the first, added a pair of base knocks for his 13th multi-hit game of the year. Wright scored a team-best three runs, while Fultz and Holt each drove in a pair of runs.
The two teams will meet back on the diamond Saturday, May 7 with a 5 p.m. (EDT) first pitch scheduled, which was moved up two hours due to potential rain in the area later in the evening. A pair of left-handers will square off in game two with ECU sending Kevin Brandt (5-2, 2.19 ERA) to the hill against Mike Mason (2-3, 4.70 ERA).