Hose, Tousley shine in Keith LeClair Classic

Published 12:27 pm Saturday, March 3, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — T.J. Hose may have appeared like he was on the mound by himself. But he swears he had some company.
It would only seem fitting that the spirit of Keith LeClair was with Hose on the opening day of the 4th Annual Keith LeClair Classic. The tournament is named in honor of the former ECU head coach who died last year from ALS.
Whoever was guiding the ball, it helped the East Carolina Pirates crash the No. 12 Pepperdine Waves, 5-4, in front of 3,303 fans Friday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
After surrendering four runs in the second inning, Hose buckled down and shut down the Waves the rest of the way.
Hose (2-2) went 7 2/3 innings and matched his season-high with seven strikeouts. The junior allowed four runs on six hits while walking one. Hose, who threw 94 pitches, retired the final 10 batters he faced.
The Pirates (6-5) have now won four straight. The victory also snapped a four-game winning streak by the Waves (11-4), which came at the expense of Pepperdine’s ace.
The win was ECU’s first over a Top-12 team since a 2-1 nod over No. 12 N.C. State on April 12, 2006.
If the Pirates were intimidated by Pepperdine ace Barry Enright (4-1), who entered the game with a 4-0 record and a 0.59 ERA, it certainly didn’t show. The Pirates scored four runs (three earned) and belted seven hits off Enright, both season-highs for the Pepperdine pitcher. Enright struck out three and walked two.
Ryan Tousley certainly stepped up to the challenge. He banged out four hits, including a home run, and drove in four off Pepperdine pitching.
ECU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Harrison Eldridge led off with a double down the right field line and later scored on Stephen Batts’ sacrifice fly to left.
Pepperdine made some waves in the second with four runs. Ryan Heroy’s RBI-double tied the game. After Travis Tartamella drilled a two-run triple, Adrian Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to plate Tartamella for a 4-1 advantage.
Hose settled down after that.
The Pirates made it 4-2 in the third when Eldridge, who had reached by a walk, scored on a bases-loaded passed ball.
Tousley tied the game with a two-out, two-run blast in the fifth. Dale Mollenhauer slapped a one-out single before Tousley uncorked a no-doubter over the fence in right, his first homer of the season, to tie the game 4-4.
The Pirates took the lead in the seventh. Broc Sutton drew a leadoff walk to set the stage for Tousley. With two outs and runners at the corners, Tousley smashed a shot off the glove of Pepperdine first baseman Ryan Heroy. Tthe ball trickled toward the dugout, allowing Sutton to score the go-ahead run.
Shane Mathews made it stand up, slamming the door on the Waves in the ninth to record his third save.
In the tournament’s first game, Western Carolina topped N.C. State 6-5.
The Pirates will play No. 20 N.C. State at 3 p.m. today. Dustin Sasser will throw for the Pirates, while Andrew Brackman will pitch for the Wolfpack.
Pepperdine and Western Carolina will start the action today at 11 a.m.
On Sunday, ECU plays Western Carolina at 3 p.m., while N.C. State and Pepperdine play at 11 a.m.