Pirates slam Highlanders
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Ryan Tousley blasted two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in five runs to lead the No. 25 East Carolina Pirates to a 16-3 victory over Radford.
The win Wednesday afternoon in front of 2,245 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium was the seventh straight for the Pirates (13-6) and their 11th in the last 12 games. ECU banged out 16 hits in the game. Every starter had at least one hit and one run scored.
Tousley finished 3-for-4 on the day. Harrison Eldridge also collected three hits, going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. Broc Sutton (2-for-5 with two RBIs), Drew Schieber (2-for-4) and Dale Mollenhauer (2-for-6) also had multi-hit games.
Mike Anderson (1-0), making the first start of his career, picked up the victory. The freshman right-hander, who retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. Anderson struck out four and walked one.
The Highlanders (6-10) used three hits in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Steve Mignogna led off with a single into right on the first pitch he saw. Raphael Turner’s single into center scored Mignogna.
Anderson settled down after the rocky first inning. His only blemish over the next four innings was a one-out walk in the third.
Tousley’s grand slam, a mammoth shot that flew well beyond the fence, gave the Pirates the lead in the bottom half of the first. Walks to Eldridge and Stephen Batts coupled with a single by Mollenhauer loaded the bases. Tousley then deposited J.B. Blixt’s (0-1) 3-1 offering over the fence in right for a 4-1 advantage.
Brandon Henderson followed suit, blasting his fifth homer on an 0-2 pitch into right to make it 5-1.
Tousley drilled his second homer of the day and fourth of the season, a solo shot in the third, to increase ECU’s lead to 6-1. It was the second two-homer game for Tousley, who first accomplished the feat on May 20, 2006.
The Pirates pushed their lead to 9-1 in the fourth on an RBI-triple from Sutton and a two-run shot to left by David Forbes, which was his third homer of the year. That ended the day for Blixt, who allowed nine runs on eight hits in three innings.
A sacrifice fly by Forbes in the fifth extended the advantage to 10-1. That was the lone run Radford reliever John Lloyd (one run on three hits in three innings) allowed.
A misplayed pop-up by the Pirates in the sixth allowed Nick Minter to get a cheap RBI, making it 10-2.
The Pirates added six runs in the eighth. Kyle Roller started it with a sacrifice fly. An infield hit by Sutton plated another run. A two-run single by Eldridge made it 14-2. After Forbes scored on a passed ball, Mollenhauer closed out the scoring for ECU with an RBI-double to center, giving the Pirates a 16-2 cushion.
Chris Powell pitched the final two innings for the Pirates, allowing a run on two hits. Joe O’Malley (one run on two hits) and Cody Leggett each tosses one inning.
ECU 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.