Pirates down Bearcats in Game 1

Published 9:08 am Sunday, March 30, 2003

By Staff
RYAN ROCKWELL, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE -- Gasps turned into applause at Harrington Field as Brad Dorrman's deep fly to left with the bases loaded and two outs fell harmlessly into the glove of Jamie Paige near the fence, giving East Carolina an 8-4 victory Saturday in game two of the three-game Conference USA series.
The Pirates took the first game of the doubleheader, thanks to success at the plate in the first and eighth innings. ECU got three across in the first and three more in the eighth to seal the deal.
Cincinnati starting pitcher, Kyle Markle (0-7) lasted just a third on an inning, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Pirate centerfielder Ryan Jones extended his hitting streak to nine games, moving Jamie Paige to third on a single to center with no outs.
Jones' streak of nine games is the longest of any Pirate this season.
Lawhorn plated Paige with a single into left and, two batters later, John Poppert dribbled an infield single past the pitcher to load the bases. The next batter, Mark Minicozzi, plated Jones with a single to center, while Adam Witter got an RBI on a groundout.
The 3-0 lead proved important for the Pirates, who added two runs over the next six innings thanks to solo homers by Lawhorn and Paige. Lawhorn homered in game one of the series, a 5-2 Pirate victory, and continued his hot hitting as a blast carried out in right-center with the gusting winds.
Paige hit his first homer of the season to practically the same spot, under the same conditions, giving ECU a 5-1 lead.
On the mound for the Pirates, Neal Sears continued to get out of jams with Bearcats on the bases. But a three-run sixth inning would end his afternoon.
After a Dorrman single led things off, the Pirate defense turned a 6-4-3 double play on a Jon DeLuca grounder. Sears walked the next batter, Jake Smith, and then sacrificed an RBI double to Drew Saylor. The next batter, Steve Pickerell, nailed a two-run homer and made the score 5-4.
ECU answered the Bearcat threat in a big way in the eighth, putting three runs across just before Cincinnati's final at-bat.
Jones drew a leadoff walk off of Brian St. Jean, who pitched 7.1 innings and gave up all three Pirate homers. Jones stole second with one out and Ryan Norwood at the plate. Norwood knocked Jones home with a single up the middle, setting the table for Poppert.
Poppert, like Lawhorn, homered on Friday and sent a St. Jean offering over the fence in left. The two-run shot gave the Pirates what seemed to be a comfortable 8-4 lead.
Things got a little hairy for the Pirates in the ninth as reliever Glenn Tucker, who struck out the side in the eighth, loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth. Tucker regrouped and retired the next three batters, including Dorrman, who was a few feet from tying the game.
Tucker was awarded a save, his second, pitching three innings and allowing just two hits.
Cincinnati 000 103 000 -- 4 10 0
East Carolina 301 010 03x -- 8 9 2
WP: Neal Sears (2-2); LP: Kyle Markle (0-7); Sv: Glenn Tucker.
C -- Mark Muscenti 1-5, Justin Niefer 1-5, Brad Dorrmann 2-4, Jon DeLuca 1-4 (2B, RBI), Drew Saylor 2-4 (2-2B, RBI), Steve Pickerall 1-1 (HR, 2RBIs), Aaron Moll 1-3, Jack Nelson 1-1; ECU -- Jamie Paige 1-3 (HR), Ryan Jones 1-3, Darryl Lawhorn 2-4 (HR, 2RBIs), Ryan Norwood 1-4 (RBI), John Poppert 2-4 (2RBIs), Mark Minicozzi 1-4 (RBI), Adam Witter 1-4 (2B).