Pirates take another win over Titans
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Showing that Friday night was no fluke, the East Carolina Pirates topped the No. 7 Cal State Fullerton Titans for the second day in a row.
Dustin Sasser and three relievers combined on a three-hit shutout, lifting the Pirates to a 2-0 win Saturday at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The 3,418 fans in attendance, including North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole, saw ECU’s first shutout since a 3-0 nod over Houston on April 2, 2006.
ECU (10-6), which has won four straight and eight of its last nine, put an end to Fullerton’s streak of 16 consecutive series wins. Fullerton (12-7) started the streak with a three-game sweep at the hands of the Pirates from March 10-12 last year.
Fullerton has been held to one run on six hits in the first two games of the series.
Sasser (2-0) was solid, throwing 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. The junior southpaw struck out three and walked one. Sasser retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
Brett Butts, Jason Neitz and Shane Mathews combined to throw 2 2/3 innings of hitless ball to end the game. Mathews finished it by pitching the ninth, earning his fifth save in the process.
The Pirates broke a scoreless deadlock in the sixth. Tousley led off by drawing a walk. One out later, Corey Kemp laced a single up the middle. The two runners moved up on a wild pitch.
With a 3-2 count on Jake Dean, Fullerton catcher John Curtis stood up and called for an intentional walk. He quickly squatted back down and pitcher Jeff Kaplan fired one down the middle. Dean wasn’t fooled, hitting a fly ball into center that enabled Tousley to tag up and race home for a 1-0 lead.
Kaplan (3-2) would allow just the one run on five hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked four.
The Pirates added an insurance run off Fullerton reliever Dustin Birosak in the seventh, thanks to a lucky hop. Drew Schieber led off with a walk and he went to second on Harrison Eldridge’s sacrifice. One out later, Brandon Henderson was intentionally walked.
Tousley then slapped a 3-2 pitch that seemed to be headed straight to second baseman Joel Weeks. However, the ball took a funny hop and bounded over Weeks and into right field, allowing Schieber to score the game’s second run.
The teams will conclude the series today at noon. Josh Dowdy (0-1) will throw for the Pirates and the Titans will counter with Sean Urena (3-0).