Pirates win two at Keith LeClair Classic

Published 11:08 am Sunday, March 9, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Trent Whitehead won’t soon forget his first Keith LeClair Classic. The East Carolina freshman belted his first collegiate home run during Saturday’s fifth annual event, played in front of 3,220 fans on a windy Saturday at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The Pirates (7-4) posted wins of 10-5 over Pittsburgh (3-4) and 6-5 over Michigan (4-5) to run their winning streak to six straight.
“This was tremendous,” ECU coach Billy Godwin said. “There were so many good things that happened (in the win over Michigan). That’s how you play championship baseball.
Whitehead, who started in left field against Pittsburgh and in right field versus Michigan, hit a huge two-run home run in the seventh against Michigan to tie the game. The former Washington Pam Pack star finished 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs against Michigan.
ECU 10, Pitt 5
Brandon Henderson led the Pirates to a 10-5 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers in ECU’s first game.
Henderson collected four hits, including a home run and a double, while driving in four runs. Stephen Batts and Harrison Eldridge had three hits apiece, while Ryan Wood had a pair.
ECU starter Seth Maness (2-0) struck out a career-high 10 batters, the most by a Pirate pitcher since Ricky Brooks fanned 14 during his 3 0, no-hit performance against Memphis on April 24, 2005. The freshman, who earned the victory, gave up four runs (three earned) while scattering 10 hits over five innings of work.
Pittsburgh starter Brian Chrisman (2-1), who was tagged with the loss, went 3 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked four. Reliever Corey Baker (two runs on five hits, five strikeouts and four walks) tossed the final 4 1/3 innings for the Panthers. Chris Warner had four hits, including a homer, to pace the Pittsburgh offense.
The Pirates took command with a five-run third inning. Wood belted an RBI double and Batts had an infield hit to score another. Wood later scored on an error for a 3-0 lead.
Henderson capped the scoring with a two-run home run, his fourth of the year, to right. The ball got caught up in the wind and carried over the fence just inside the right field foul pole. Pittsburgh made it 5-2 in the fourth thanks to an ECU error that allowed two runs to score.
ECU answered in the bottom half, batting around for the second straight inning, with three runs to grab an 8-2 lead. Batts and Henderson had RBI-singles, while Wood scored on a double-steal. Warner’s first home run of the season, a two-run shot to right, pulled the Panthers within 8-4 in the fifth. Pittsburgh tacked on another run in the sixth.
The Pirates responded with two runs in the bottom half. Henderson had an RBI-double to help give ECU a 10-5 lead. Seth Simmons threw two innings of relief for the Pirates, allowing an unearned run on two hits. He struck out two and walked one. Josh Ruhlman went the final two innings, striking out one and walking one.
ECU 6, Michigan 5
While Whitehead has a career game, it was Corey Kemp’s RBI single that gave the Pirates the win. Zach Putnam, who started on the mound for Michigan, gave his team a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first. Batts tied it up in the bottom half with an RBI double. Whitehead, who started in right field, came through with his first RBI as a Pirate in the second. After Dustin Harrington’s two-out single, Whitehead blooped a single into shallow left that plated Harrington for a 2-1 lead.
Nate Recknagel’s sac fly tied it 2-2 in the fifth. ECU grabbed the lead in the bottom half. Wood drilled his third homer of the season, a two-out blast into right, for a 3-2 advantage.
The Wolverines responded in the top of the sixth, chasing ECU starter T.J. Hose (four runs on seven hits, five strikeouts and five walks in 5 2/3 innings) in the process. Michigan loaded the bases on a hit and two walks. Jason Christian slapped a two-out, two-run single into right to give the Wolverines a 4-3 lead. Michigan made it 5-3 in the seventh with a run off ECU reliever Daniel Holder.
With one on base in the bottom half, Whitehead drilled his first home run as a Pirate, taking a 2-1 offering over the right field fence that knotted the game at 5-5.
It chased Putnam (five runs on seven hits, six strikeouts and a walk in 6 1/3 innings) in the process.
Kemp slapped an RBI single into right to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead.
Pittsburgh 000 221 000 - 5 12 1
East Carolina 005 302 00x - 10 12 1
WP: Seth Maness (2-0); LP: Brian Chrisman (2-1)
Hitters: P - Chris Warner 4-4 (HR, 2 RBI), Nick Mullins 3-4, Danny Lopez
2-5, Dan Williams 2-5, Sean Conley 1-4 (RBI); ECU - Brandon Henderson 4-5
(HR, 2B, 4 RBI), Stephen Batts 3-4 (2 RBI, 3 runs), Harrison Eldridge 3-4,
Ryan Wood 2-2 (2B, RBI, 3 runs), Trent Whitehead 0-4 (1 run).
Michigan 100 012 100 - 5 9 1
East Carolina 110 010 21x - 6 9 0
WP: Josh Ruhlman (1-1); LP: Michael Powers (1-3)
Hitters: M - Adam Abraham 4-4 (2 2Bs), Zach Putnam 2-4 (2B, RBI), Jason
Christian 1-3 (2 RBI), Chris Berset 1-3, Nate Recknagel 1-4 (RBI); ECU -
Trent Whitehead 2-4 (HR, 3 RBI), Ryan Wood 2-4 (HR, RBI), Stephen Batts
2-4 (2B, RBI), Dustin Harrington 2-3, Corey Kemp 1-4 (RBI).