Pirates belt four homers to blast the Monarchs

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, April 19, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — East Carolina showed its power, blasting four home runs en route to a 9-5 victory over Old Dominion.
The win, coming in front of 2,648 fans Wednesday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium, was the fourth straight for the Pirates. Harrison Eldridge and Stephen Batts hit 2-run homers for ECU (25-12, 6-5 Conference USA) in the seventh to break a tie with the Monarchs (25-16, 12-5 Colonial Athletic Association). Kyle Roller and Ryan Wood also homered for ECU.
Roller smacked a 2-run homer over the right field fence in the second to give ECU an early 2-0 advantage.
ECU starter Josh Dowdy ran into some problems in the third when five straight Monarchs reached base. Tyler Belcher’s bases-loaded 2-run single with two outs tied the game. Nick Edrman followed with an RBI-single into left to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead.
ECU made it 3-3 in the bottom half. Dale Mollenhauer started the rally with a triple. Batts then singled off the glove of pitcher Dexter Carter, allowing Mollenhauer to race home with the tying run.
Gerard Hall gave the Monarchs a 4-3 lead with a solo shot, his first of the season, in the fourth.
The Pirates tied it in the fifth. Drew Schieber led off with a double and he scored after a pair of passed balls.
Wood’s second homer of the season, a mammoth shot into “The Jungle” in the sixth, gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead. That helped end the day for Monarch starter Dexter Carter, who allowed the five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Chris Keenan’s one-out triple in the seventh, a ball that leftfielder Brandon Henderson misplayed and allowed to roll to the fence, ended Dowdy’s night. Dowdy, who retired nine straight prior to the triple, allowed five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. The sophomore struck out five and walked two.
Mike Zahm’s sacrifice fly off reliever Josh Ruhlman (3-0), who was credited with the win, scored Keenan to tie the game at 5-apiece.
ECU took the lead in the seventh with a pair of 2-run homers. After Henderson singled off reliever Cory Toth (1-1), Eldridge greeted new Old Dominion reliever Ryan Bergh with a 2-run blast into right, his fourth of the season, for a 7-5 lead.
Following a walk by Mollenhauer, Batts launched a 2-run dinger, his third, to give the Pirates a 9-5 cushion.
That was more than enough for ECU’s pitchers. Bailey Daniels struck out three batters in the eighth. Shane Mathews closed it out, pitching a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.
Wood (3-4, HR, 2 2B’s, RBI), Batts (2-4, HR, 3 RBIs) and Eldridge (2-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBIs) all had multi-hit games for the Pirates.
The Pirates play a three-game series with Savannah State beginning Friday. Fans are encouraged to wear orange and maroon in support of those affected by Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech.
A moment of silence was held prior to last night’s game to honor the victims from the shooting that left 33 dead.
Game times this weekend are set for 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Mike Anderson will start Friday’s game. T.J. Hose will start Saturday and Dustin Sasser will throw Sunday.
After playing at No. 2 North Carolina on Tuesday, ECU returns to Conference USA play by hosting Southern Miss for a three-game series starting April 27.