ECU picks up its first victory of the season

Published 8:03 am Sunday, February 11, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Jeff Ostrander turned in a solid pitching performance and East Carolina avoided its first 0-2 start since 1997.
The Pirates (1-1) picked up their first victory of the season, taking a 7-4 win over the Liberty Flames (1-1) on a sunny , crisp Saturday afternoon in front of 2,777 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Ostrander (1-0), who missed last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, picked up his first win in nearly two years.
The senior southpaw, whose last win came March 13, 2005 against Navy, allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings. Ostrander, who struck out four on the day, retired the final 10 batters he faced.
Ostrander didn’t get off to the start he wanted. The Flames loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning. P.K. Keller drove in a run with a two-out single. Right fielder Jamie Ray kept it at 1-0 thanks to his throw-out of Aaron Grijalva at the plate.
The Pirates answered in the bottom half off Liberty starter Dustin Umberger (six runs on five hits in four innings). Harrison Eldridge smoked a single into right and Dale Mollenhauer laced a double into the right-center gap. Brandon Henderson’s sacrifice fly plated Eldridge with the tying run.
Liberty went up 3-1 in the third on an RBI-single by Cody Brown and an RBI-double by Keller, both coming with two outs.
The Pirates made it 3-2 in the bottom half on an infield RBI-single by Stephen Batts.
ECU took the lead with a four-run fourth, getting those runs on just two hits. Ray hit a leadoff single and eventually scored on a wild pitch. A second sacrifice fly by Henderson and an RBI-single by Ryan Tousley gave the Pirates a 5-3 lead. Mollenhauer, who had walked earlier, scored on an errant pickoff attempt to make it 6-3.
Liberty pulled within 6-4 in the seventh on Garrett Young’s two-out RBI-single off reliever Mike Flye (one unearned run on three hits with a strikeout in one inning).
The Flames threatened in the eighth, loading the bases against four ECU pitchers — Flye, Chris Powell, Josh Ruhlman and Shane Mathews.
Mathews struck out Patrick Gaillard to preserve ECU’s two-run lead.
Eldridge’s two-out double in the eighth off Liberty reliever Ryan Page (one unearned run on two hits in four innings) scored Ryan Wood, who had reached on an error, to give the Pirates a 7-4 lead.
Mathews closed it out by retiring the side in order in the ninth.
Lefty Dustin Sasser gets the start today for ECU against Liberty’s right-handed throwing David Stokes. The game will begin at 1 p.m.