ECU Advances To Greenville Regional Championship
May 31, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. - An eight-run fifth inning propelled Greenville Regional top-seed East Carolina (44-18) to a 16-9 victory over No. 4 seed Binghamton (30-22) on Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. Kyle Roller hit two home runs in the fifth as part of his 4-for-5 day at the plate. He finished with four RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Brad Mincey (10-5) recorded the win for the Pirates, throwing his first career complete game while giving up two earned runs on 11 hits. He also became the first Conference USA pitcher to pick up 10 wins this season. Binghamton's Morgan Smith (1-3) suffered the loss as he gave up five runs on four hits in one inning of work.
With 19 hits in the contest, the Pirates notched double-digits for the 44th time this season and third in as many games in the Greenville Regional. The squad also upped its season home run total to 102, breaking the school record for the most in a single season.
East Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Trent Whitehead led off with a walk, moved to second on Binghamton starter Walker McKinven's error on a failed pickoff attempt, advanced to third on a Ryan Wood infield single and scored on another failed pickoff by McKinven. Wood came home on Roller's double down the left field line.
Binghamton used five hits in the bottom of the third inning to take took a 4-2 lead. The Bearcats loaded the bases with one out on a single by C.J. Lukaszewski, a throwing error by Wood and a single by Kyle Klee. Corey Taylor drove in Lukaszewski with a ground out to Dustin Harrington. Dave Ciocchi then hit Mincey's 0-2 pitch up the middle for a two-run single and a 3-2 advantage. Peter Bregartner plated Ciocchi with a single to right field for the final run of the frame.
East Carolina sliced its deficit to 4-3 in the top of the fourth as Zach Wright and Whitehead hit back-to-back doubles.
In the bottom of the fourth, Binghamton scored three runs to take a 7-3 lead. The Bearcats loaded the bases with one out on a Jim Calderone single, a fielding error by Wood and Klee getting hit by a pitch. Taylor struck out before Ciocchi followed with a bases-clearing double down the right field line.
The Pirates responded with eight runs in the top of the fifth inning to take an 11-7 lead. Roller led off the frame with a home run to make the score 7-4. The Pirates then loaded the bases with one out before pinch hitter Austin Homan singled to right field, driving in two runs to cut the deficit down to one at 7-6. Whitehead followed and tied the game at 7-7 with a single to right field. The single for Whitehead was his 102nd hit of the season, the second-most in a single season in program history.
Stephen Batts then gave East Carolina the lead with a two-run double to left center. Roller provided the final runs of the inning with his second home run of the frame, a two-run long ball that put the Pirates ahead 11-7.
In the top of the seventh, the Pirates extended their lead to 13-7 on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Henderson and an RBI single by Harrington. Binghamton responded in the bottom of the frame as Bregartner drove in his second and third runs of the day with a two-run home run to make the score 13-9.
East Carolina added three more runs in the final two innings, highlighted by a Drew Schieber solo shot in the top of the ninth to provide the final 16-9 margin.
With the win, the Pirates advance to play No. 2 seed South Carolina at 6 p.m. in the Greenville Regional Championship game. It is ECU's second consecutive Regional Championship appearance.