Pirates take down the No. 7 Titans

Published 1:52 pm Saturday, March 10, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — The name on the jersey didn’t intimidate T.J. Hose. The four national championships didn’t bother him. Nor did the fact that Cal State Fullerton roughed him up a bit last year.
The East Carolina pitcher got into an early groove and stayed there all night, shutting down the No. 7 Titans in a 6-1-victory. Friday’s win over Fullerton, coming in front of 3,048 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium, was Hose’s second over a Top-12 team in a week.
Hose (3-2) looked more like an All-American than Wes Roemer (3-3), the 2006 co-National Player of the Year. Hose went seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits, striking out six and walking three.
Fullerton was the highest-ranked opponent ECU topped since the Pirates beat No. 5 Houston, 11-4, on April 6, 2002. The highest-ranked opponent ECU has ever beaten was No. 2 Rice, 4-3, March 24, 2006.
While it was a big win, Godwin was careful when talking about the importance of the victory.
The Pirates battered Roemer, Fullerton’s ace, for six runs (four earned) on 10 hits, including home runs from Ryan Tousley and Corey Kemp, in six innings. ECU helped its cause by getting its leadoff batter aboard in each of the first four innings.
The Pirates (9-6) gained some revenge on the Titans (12-6) — the highest ranked opponent to visit Greenville since No. 5 Houston played here April 5-7, 2002 — after getting swept in California last year. Fullerton outscored ECU 21-1 in last year’s three-game series.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first. Harrison Eldridge took the first offering from Roemer and drilled a double down the right field line. An errant pickoff attempt by Roemer, in which the star pitcher twisted his ankle, allowed Eldridge to race into third. Brandon Henderson’s ground out to short plated Eldridge for the first run of the game.
ECU flexed its muscle to take a 4-0 lead in the fourth. Tousley led off with his second homer of the season into right. After Stephen Batts laced a double into left, Kemp took a 3-2 pitch and pounded it into “The Jungle” in left. Kemp’s first home run as a Pirate gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead.
Chris Jones got Fullerton on the board in the fifth with a solo shot into left to make it 4-1.
ECU padded its lead in the sixth. After Jake Dean singled and Ryan Wood drew a two-out walk, Eldridge smoked an RBI-single, his third hit of the game, for a 5-1 lead. An errant pickoff attempt by Roemer, his second of the night, sailed into center and allowed Wood to score to make it 6-1.
Brett Butts pitched the eighth, striking out two, and Shane Mathews closed it out with a perfect ninth. Mathews fanned two in the process.
The teams resume the series at 2 p.m. today. Dustin Sasser (0-1) will throw for the Pirates and Fullerton will counter with Jeff Kaplan (3-1).
The teams conclude the series at noon Sunday.