Pirates able to collar the Aggies
Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2007
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — In a tune-up for the No. 7 Cal State Fullerton Titans, the East Carolina Pirates plodded their way through a 7-4 victory over the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
The Pirates (8-6), winning their second straight, ran their all-time series record to 9-0 against the Aggies (2-8) on a chilly Tuesday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 2,182 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium. ECU coach Billy Godwin wasn’t exactly thrilled with how his team played.
After playing the No. 12 team (Pepperdine) and the No. 20 team (N.C. State) in the country last weekend and eyeing the No. 7 team this weekend, the Pirates were primed for a letdown.
The Pirates took advantage of two Aggie errors in the third to take a 3-0 lead. Corey Kemp led off by reaching on shortstop Nick Mayo’s throwing error. A&T starter John Primus (0-2) walked David Forbes to put two aboard. Ryan Wood then reached when Aggie first baseman Kory Kinnear couldn’t glove a throw to the bag, which allowed Kemp to score.
Harrison’s Eldridge’s ground out scored Forbes. Dale Mollenhauer followed by lacing a single up the middle to score Wood for a 3-0 lead.
The Aggies pulled within 3-1 in the fifth and chased ECU starter Bailey Daniels in the process.
Daniels allowed one run on four hitswith five strikeouts and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Neil Rosser was hit by a pitch and Lester Rivenbark reached on an infield hit. Nick Mayo ripped a double into left-center field to score Rosser. Jeremy Jones then drew an intentional walk to load the bases.
After Daniels struck out Charlie Gamble, Jason Neitz (2-0) came on in relief. The senior southpaw fanned Joe McIntyre to end the inning and keep it a 3-1 game.
Neitz went on to pitch 2 1/3 innings. He allowed one hit and struck out four.
The Pirates added an insurance run in the sixth. Brandon Henderson, collecting just the second hit of the game for ECU, belted a sharp single into center. After stealing second, Henderson raced home on a two-out single into left by Stephen Batts, giving ECU a 4-1 advantage.
ECU added three more runs on four hits in the eighth, as the Pirates chased Primus. The junior right-hander allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits with three strikeouts and four walks in 7 1/3 innings.
Mollenhauer drew a walk and raced home on Ryan Tousley’s single into center for a 5-1 lead. Kyle Roller had a pinch-hit RBI-double and Kemp’s RBI-single pushed the lead to 7-1, coming off Aggie reliever Ronald Phelps. The former Plymouth High School standout allowed two runs on four hits in one-third of an inning.
The Aggies attempted to rally in the ninth. Rosser’s two-run homer off reliever Mike Flye pulled A&T within 7-3. After giving up a double to pinch-hitter Joe Wade and a single to Mayo with nobody out, that was it for Flye. Charlie Gamble’s sacrifice fly made it 7-4, with all three runs in the ninth being charged to Flye.
Closer Shane Mathews came on and retired all three batters he faced to earn his fourth save.
ECU will play host to No. 7 Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series beginning Friday. The Pirates and Titans will play at 5 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.