Daniels helps ECU baseball win sixth straight
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Playing their first game since cracking the Top 25, the East Carolina Pirates took an 8-5 win over the Radford Highlanders.
The win, coming in front of 2,200 fans Tuesday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium, was the sixth straight for ECU. The No. 25 Pirates (12-6), fresh off a sweep of No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, have won 10 of their last 11 games.
ECU shortstop Dale Mollenhauer, who went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs, said he and his teammates were ready.
ECU starter Bailey Daniels (1-1), making his third start, struck out a career-high nine batters en route to his first victory as a Pirate. The sophomore allowed three runs on four hits while walking two in 5 2/3 innings.
Brandon Henderson’s two-out RBI single gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first.
Three consecutive hits by the Highlanders tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the second. Jonathan Spears got it started with a single into right and he scooted home on Nick Minter’s rap into center.
The Pirates recaptured the lead with a five-run fifth, chasing Radford starter Kyle Starr (0-1) in the process. The freshman lefty allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits, striking out one and walking three in four innings.
Drew Schieber’s RBI-double into left scored Ryan Wood, who had led off with a walk, to start the uprising. After Harrison Eldridge reached on a bunt single, Mollenhauer smoked a double down the right field line to plate both runners for a 4-1 lead.
Ryan Tousley singled into left to score Mollenhauer and Corey Kemp’s sacrifice fly plated another to make it 6-1.
The Highlanders (6-9) cut their deficit in half in the sixth. After Daniels plunked one batter and walked another, Mike Flye came on in relief. Alex Gregory greeted Flye (two runs on three hits in two innings) with a two-run double into deep center, pulling Radford within 6-3.
ECU tacked on two runs in the seventh. Stephen Batts slapped an RBI-single and Tousley brought in another run with a sacrifice for an 8-3 lead.
Radford answered with two runs in the top of the eighth. Raphael Turner singled and went to third on Nate Toth’s double. Turner then raced home on an error. Rocky Weiss hit a double to score another to make it 8-5. Andrew Cook tried to make it 8-6, but he was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Shane Mathews closed it out in the ninth, picking up his sixth save of the season.
The teams meet again today at 3 p.m. Mike Anderson (0-0) gets the call for ECU, while Radford will counter with J.B. Blixt (0-0).
Following the series, the Pirates will 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.