Norwood's dinger helps Pirates
By By John Swartz, Sports Correspondent
GREENVILLE -- Ryan Norwood hit his fifth home run of the season in the form of a grand slam as part of the nine-run eighth inning for the Pirates.
The Aggies came in with a 3-18 record, and didn't improve their record as they traveled back to Greensboro with a 12-2 loss.
The home run was a shot that bounced off the light pole overlooking left field; it bounced about eight feet below the lights.
After the scoreless first, Kevin O'Sullivan came to the plate in the second with John Poppert at third representing the first Pirate in scoring position. O'Sullivan came through with a single right over second base to get the Pirates on the board.
In the top of the third inning, Pirate pitcher Jason Neitz allowed one single, but later picked off Davis to still wind up with the three-up, three-down inning. In the second half of the inning, Darryl Lawhorn led off the inning with a stand-up double, and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Aggie catcher. The Pirates were unable to capitalize on the scoring chance as they got three straight outs.
Neitz got himself into a little trouble in the Aggie half of the fourth. He allowed a single to Quincy Jones and threw a wild pitch that allowed him to advance to second. Battle then sacrificed Quincy Jones to third with a deep shot to center. Then Eric Jones came to the plate with a chance to either draw even or go one up on the Pirates. Neitz worked out of the jam as he retired Eric on strikes.
The Pirate bats failed to produce a run in the fourth and Neitz returned to the mound still clinging to a one-run lead. Neitz held strong as he retired the Aggies in the fifth with a runner left at third. Again in the fifth, Lawhorn reached base, but the rest of the Pirates' offense failed to produce a hit and Lawhorn was stranded on base.
In the sixth, Neitz worked himself into yet another jam. With runners at the corners and two down, Pirate manager Randy Mazey pulled Neitz after a meeting that was inclusive of the entire infield. Kevin Rhodes came into the game and struck out the Aggies designated hitter, Eric Jones. It was the second time Jones struck out to end an inning with a runner at third. Neitz finished the night and gave up no runs on six hits.
In the Pirate half of the sixth, Poppert and Jon Henry Kail both reached courtesy of walks. Cherry then moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. One out later, Jamie Page came to the plate and hit a ball right back at the head of Aggie pitcher Toby Middleton; all he could do is get out of the way. Poppert and Kail both scored on the play. Middleton was pulled after the inning; he gave up three runs on six hits.
The Aggies worked the bases loaded in the seventh and Price Stevens hit a single to left field and scored the first run of the game for the visiting team. It could have been worse for the Pirates, but Ryan Jones robbed Spencer Brooks of a hit with a diving catch. Cherry then pounced up and fired home. The throw was moot as the home plate umpire ruled that Ben Teasley left third base early. Aggie manager Keith Shumate came out of the dugout to argue the call; he got tossed from the game for his effort.
In the eighth, Jason Tourangeau came into the game to pitch. It was his first action from the mound this season. Tourangeau worked one of the few uneventful innings for the Pirates. He allowed no runs on one hit and left one man on first.
With no outs, and runners at the corners, Ryan Jones came to the plate and hit a single to left to score O'Sullivan. Lawhorn recorded another single to load the bases, still with no outs. Ryan Norwood came to the plate and sent the ball deep into the 'jungle' to score all four runs. The Pirates added nine total runs in the inning.
While closing out the game, Tourangeau allowed on more run and the Pirates closed out the game with a victory, 12-2, and improved their record to14-6-1.
NORTH CAROLINA A&T 000 000 101 -- 2 11 5
EAST CAROLINA 010 002 09x -- 12 14 3
ECU: Darryl Lawhorn 4-5; Ryan Norwood 2-4 (HR, 4 RBI); Jon Henry Kail 2-4 (1 RBI); John Poppert 2-4; Kevin O'Sullivan 1-3 (1 RBI); Jamie Paige 1-4 (2 RBI); Ryan Jones 1-4 (1 RBI); Mike DeJesus 1-1; A&T: Price Stevens 3-4 (2 RBI); Quincy Jones 3-5; Spencer Brooks 2-5; Arthur Davis 1-2; Stewart McClintock 1-3; Patrick Battle 1-5.