Godwin wins 300th as Pirates complete sweep of ECU Invite
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Bacon, eggs and baseball.
The Pirates concluded the first ECU Invitational by beating the previously undefeated Duke Blue Devils 11-4, coming in front of 2,502 fans Sunday morning at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Sunday’s win gave the Pirates a sweep in the three-day invite after beating St. John’s on Friday and Washington on Saturday.
Sunday’s victory also gave Godwin the 300th of his career. Godwin is now 300-116 overall, including 38-31 in two years at the helm of the Pirates. He went 262-85 at Louisburg.
Brandon Henderson led ECU’s offensive onslaught with a home run, double and three RBIs. Drew Schieber went 3-4 for three stolen bases and two runs scored.
The Pirates (5-5), who have won three straight, banged out 10 hits off five Duke (9-1) pitchers.
The run total matched a season-high for the Pirates. ECU defeated Liberty 11-2 in the third game of the season.
Duke took an early 1-0 lead in the first off ECU starter Chris Powell, who made his first start of the season. Powell plunked leadoff batter Ryan McCurdy, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jimmy Gallagher’s single into right scored McCurdy for the lead.
ECU answered in its half of the first off Duke starter Jeremy Gould (0-1), who struggled mightily. The southpaw couldn’t get out of the first inning, uncorking four wild pitches and walking three batters. Gould gave up three runs on one hit.
Harrison Eldridge drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a wild pitch. Dale Mollenhauer walked and Eldridge raced to third on a passed ball. A ground out by Stephen Batts scored Eldridge with the game-tying run. Mollenhauer trotted home on Gould’s second wild pitch for a 2-1 lead. Corey Kemp walked and went to third after two more wild pitches. Henderson’s two-out double into right scored Kemp to give the Pirates a 3-1 advantage.
ECU tacked on another run in the second off Duke reliever Alexander Hassan (three runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings). Schieber led off with a single and promptly stole second. Ryan Wood’s single into left put runners at the corners. Eldridge’s sacrifice fly plated Schieber to make it 4-1.
The Blue Devils chased Powell (one run on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk in 2 1/3 innings) in the second after consecutive hits by Nate Freiman (4-5), Brett Bartles and Matt Williams loaded the bases. Jason Neitz (1-0) came on and struck out two to leave the runners stranded and preserve ECU’s 4-1 lead.
Neitz, who struck out five and allowed two hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief, earned his first win of the season.
Henderson pushed the Pirate lead to 6-1 with a two-run blast into The Jungle in the third. After Ryan Tousley walked, Henderson drilled his third home run of the season.
ECU extended its lead to 8-1 in the fourth. Mollenhauer doubled and scored easily on a triple by Batts. Kemp’s sacrifice fly then scored Batts.
The Pirates added two more runs in the fifth thanks to a pair of Duke errors. Schieber singled, stole second and third and scored when Eldridge reached on an error. Eldridge later scored when Batts reached on another Duke miscue, pushing ECU’s lead to 10-1.
Bobby Fowler’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly plated another run in the seventh for an 11-1 advantage.
Tim Sherlock hit a solo shot and Gabriel Saade’s sacrifice fly in the eighth pulled Duke within 11-3. The Blue Devils closed the scoring with a run in the ninth.
Bailey Daniels, Mike Anderson, Joe O’Malley and Josh Ruhlman all pitched one inning for ECU.
The Pirates will host the 4th Annual Keith LeClair Invitational this weekend. ECU will face Pepperdine at 5 p.m. Friday, N.C. State at 3 p.m. Saturday and Western Carolina at 3 p.m. Sunday.