Pirates complete sweep of Titans
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Breaking out the brooms, the East Carolina Pirates made it a clean sweep of the No. 7 Cal State Fullerton Titans with a 12-5 victory. It was ECU’s first sweep of a Top-10 team in school history.
Sunday’s win in front of 2,845 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium was the fifth straight for the Pirates (11-6), and the ninth in their last 10 games. It was the first sweep of the season for the Pirates.
Fullerton (12-8) hadn’t been swept in a series since the start of the 2004 season at the hands of No. 6 Stanford.
The Pirates broke the game open with an eight-run second, sending 12 batters to the plate against Fullerton starter Sean Urena (3-1). The freshman, who was the Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Week last week after throwing a one-hitter against No. 6 Rice, was roughed up for eight runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings of work. He struck out two and walked three.
Ryan Tousley (2-for-4 with three RBIs) hit a bases-loaded clearing triple and a double in the uprising, while Stephen Batts (3-for-4 with an RBI) banged out a pair of singles.
Tousley ignited the rally with a leadoff double. Batts followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Corey Kemp’s single into left plated Tousley with the tying run. Ryan Wood (2-for-3 with four RBIs) later slapped a two-out single into left to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
Harrison Eldridge reached on Pinkerton’s error at third to keep the inning alive, and the Pirates made the Titans pay by scoring five more runs. Wood, who had advanced to third base on the error, scored on a double steal to make it 4-1.
After Dale Mollenhauer and Brandon Henderson walked to load the bases, Tousley stepped into the batter’s box for the second time. Tousley cleared the bases with a shot down the right field line for a 7-1 lead. Batts then slapped an infield hit, his second of the inning, to score Tousley for an 8-1 Pirate advantage.
The Titans took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Chris Jones led off with a single and he eventually scored on Billy Pinkerton’s ground out.
The Pirates answered with their eight-run second.
Fullerton made it 8-2 in the fifth on an RBI-single by Jake Vasquez off ECU starter Josh Dowdy, who was one out away from picking up his first win of the season. The sophomore, who fanned two and walked one, went 4 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He left with the bases loaded in the fifth
Fullerton made it an 8-5 game in the seventh when the Pirates used relievers Josh Ruhlman, Brett Butts and Jason Neitz. Nick Mahin drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to force in one run. Josh Fellhauer followed with a two-run single into center, pulling the Titans within 8-5.
Fullerton reliever Justin Klipp allowed the Titans to rally, shutting down the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings. He retired 13 straight batters, two by strikeout, at one point.
The Pirates added four insurance runs in the eighth, including three off reliever Nolan Bruyninckx. Wood hit a bases-loaded two-run single and Mollenhauer slapped a two-run single, giving ECU a 12-5 advantage.
Shane Mathews pitched the ninth to preserve the victory, fanning two in the process.
Ruhlman (1-0) was credited with his first win as a Pirate. He allowed three runs on one hit in two innings, striking out one and walking two.
The Pirates, who will play five games in five days, will return to Clark-LeClair Stadium on Tuesday for a two-game series with Radford. The Pirates and Highlanders will play Tuesday and Wednesday at 3 p.m.
ECU will then host Michigan for three games Friday and Saturday. The Pirates and Wolverines will play Friday at 7 p.m. before playing a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday.