Pirates pull off another dramatic win
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — The late game magic struck again.
Harrison Eldridge stole home in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the No. 2 seed East Carolina Pirates to a thrilling 2-1 win over the No. 3 seed Southern Miss Golden Eagles in Thursday’s Conference USA Tournament game at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
ECU (38-20), which took a dramatic 4-2 come-from-behind win over Tulane on Wednesday, will play in the winner’s bracket game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Southern Miss (38-20), which saw its 11-game winning streak come to a halt, will play Tulane at 6:30 p.m. today in an elimination game.
Eldridge, whose three-run homer helped lift the Pirates over Tulane a night earlier, got ECU started in the 10th with a one-out single into left off reliever Tyler Conn (1-2).
Ryan Wood then drew a walk to get two aboard. A wild pitch enabled Eldridge to reach third. Broc Sutton, who entered as a pinch runner in the ninth, was intentionally walked to load the bases.
With Stephen Batts at the plate, Godwin opted for a suicide squeeze. As Eldridge broke for home, Conn’s pitch got past Eagle catcher Keith Winstead and Eldridge easily crossed home plate with the winning run.
Shane Mathews (4-3), who pitched a scoreless 10th, got the win for the Pirates.
Conn suffered the loss.
The Pirates tied it in the ninth off reliever Patrick Ezell, which wasted a solid effort by Southern Miss starter Barry Bowden. Bowden scattered four hits through eight innings, striking out five and walking two.
Freshman Kyle Roller started ECU’s late rally with a one-out single. Batts followed with a double into right, extending his hitting streak to 24 games in the process, the second longest in school history.
Steve Sides (1987) holds the record with a 28-game hitting streak.
Ryan Tousley drew an intentional walk to load the bases. Jamie Ray, facing a 2-2 pitch, fouled off three straight pitches before his sacrifice fly into center scored Sutton, who was running for Roller, with the tying run. Batts went to third and Tousley second on the throw home.
Jake Dean drew a free pass to reload the bases for the Pirates.
Drew Schieber, facing a 3-2 count, sprayed two balls foul before taking a called third strike to end the inning.
Jody Blount broke a scoreless tie to start the sixth. The Southern Miss right fielder belted Dustin Sasser’s 1-1 pitch over the fence in right-center, his sixth of the year, for a 1-0 lead.
That was the lone mistake Sasser made on the night. The junior southpaw pitched a solid 6 1/3 innings, allowing the one run on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Bailey Daniels (one hit and one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings) and Jason Neitz (one hit in one inning) also pitched for the Pirates.
Bo Davis, Blount and Winstead had two hits apiece for the Eagles.
Wood had a pair of hits for the Pirates.
2007 C-USA Tournament
Game 1 – (5) Memphis 12, (4) Houston 4
Game 2 – (1) Rice 16, (8) UCF 6
Game 3 – (3) Southern Miss 9, (6) UAB 5
Game 4 – (2) East Carolina 4, (7) Tulane 2
Game 5 – (8) UCF 1, (4) Houston 0
Game 6 – (7) Tulane 13, (6) UAB 5
Game 7 – (1) Rice 7, (5) Memphis 5
Game 8 – (2) East Carolina 2, (3) Southern Miss 1
Game 9 – 3 p.m. – (8) UCF vs. (5) Memphis
Game 10 – 6:30 p.m. – (7) Tulane vs. (3) Southern Miss
Game 11 – 9 a.m. – (1) Rice vs. Game 9 winner
Game 12 – 12:30 p.m. – (2) East Carolina vs. Game 10 winner
Game 13 – 4 p.m. – Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, if necessary
Game 14 – 7:30 p.m. – Game 8 winner vs. Game 10 winner, if necessary
1 p.m. – Championship game