Pirates Take Game One From Green Wave, 5-1

UABSPORTS.COM Junior Mike Wright recorded his sixth win on the season.
Junior Mike Wright recorded his sixth win on the season.

May 19, 2011

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NEW ORLEANS, La. - Mike Wright and Brad Mincey combined for a two-hitter and four Pirates recorded multiple hits as No. 30 East Carolina (35-18, 12-10) took the opener of a three-game Conference USA series from the Green Wave (30-22, 10-12) 5-1 Thursday night at Greer Field inside Turchin Stadium.

The Pirates, who collected at least one base hit in eight of the nine innings, scored a pair of runs in the third taking an early 2-0 advantage. Corey Thompson led off with a double to left field extending his current hit streak to 13 games in league play and scored when Trent Whitehead (2-for-3) laced a shot back up the middle, his second hit of the contest. John Wooten (2-for-4) drove in the game-winning run just two batters later on an infield single to second that scored Whitehead from third.

Wright (6-3) notched his first win in conference play working six strong innings where he allowed one run (earned) on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts before turning the game over to Mincey, who picked up his second save of the season tossing three scoreless innings with three walks and three punch outs.

David Napoli fell to 1-3 on the year after giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Drew Zizinia was touched for a pair of runs on two hits with three walks, while Alex Facundus recorded a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning.

The Pirates tacked on another run in the seventh thanks to a sac fly by Zach Wright, his team-leading 36th of the season. Mike Ussery (2-for-3) singled to right starting the frame and took second when Philip Clark reached on a fielder's choice bunt back to Napoli, who threw the ball into center field, putting runners on first and second. After a Tulane pitching change, Thompson moved the runners up 90 feet on a sac bunt back to Zizinia on the mound. Whitehead loaded the bases on an intentional walk and Wright lifted a first pitch offering to center, plating Ussery for a 3-0 lead.

Tulane finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh when Bowen Woodson drew a bases loaded walk from Mincey cutting ECU's lead to two, 3-1. Mike Wright issued consecutive walks to Schaffer and Nick Schneeberger and a wild pitch moved them both into scoring position before Mincey entered the game. The Wilmington, N.C. native had a shaky start walking Blake Crohan to load the bases before giving Woodson a free pass, which plated Schaffer.

Still in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs, Cannizaro reached on a fielder's choice after sending a dribbler back to Mincey, who promptly flipped the ball to Wright at home getting Schneeberger on the force play. ECU finally got out of the jam on a text book 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Cody Robinson to end the frame.

ECU padded its lead in the top of the ninth on a bases loaded pinch hit two-RBI single from Austin Homan that scored Clark and Thompson capping the game at 5-1.

Offensively the Pirates collected double-digit hits for the 15th time in the last 20 games with their 12 base knocks. Freshman Jack Reinheimer joined Whitehead, Wooten and Ussery with multiple hits on the night.

The two teams will meet back on the diamond Friday night when Seth Maness (7-3, 2.22 ERA) takes the hill against Conrad Flynn (3-5, 3.67 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (EDT).