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Harrington’s hit wins it in 10th for ECU

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — What a difference a day can make.
After losing a heartbreaking 7-6 decision to N.C. State a night earlier, the No. 23 East Carolina Pirates bounced back to top The Citadel Bulldogs, 4-3, in 10 innings. Dustin Harrington’s bases-loaded single into left knocked in Brandon Henderson with the game-winner in front of 2,718 fans Wednesday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Henderson led off the bottom half of the 10th with a sharp single into left. Kyle Roller followed with a double and Jamie Ray drew an intentional walk to load the bases with nobody out. Harrington followed with his single that sailed over left fielder Chris Swauger.
The win gave the Pirates (27-10) eight victories in their last nine games.
Simmons (2-0) recorded the final three outs to earn his second win. It didn’t come easy as he had to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th.
Ruhlman, who made his team-leading 22nd appearance, pitched four innings of three-hit ball in relief. The lefty, who struck out four, retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced.
Ruhlman ran into trouble in the 10th. Sonny Meade led off with a single and Richard Jones laced a double into right, his fourth hit of the game.
Simmons came on and struck out Matt Reifsnider before intentionally walking Chris McGuiness to load the bases. Simmons got out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out to send the game into the bottom of the 10th.
Chocowinity’s Britton Cole made his first start for the Pirates. He went 1 1/3 innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits and a walk.
Cole, a junior walk-on, made just his third appearance overall with East Carolina. He entered the game having allowed no earned runs and two hits with four strikeouts and two walks in two innings.
Both of Cole’s previous appearances came in wins against Campbell — 11-3 on March 26 and 11-2 on April 2. He struck out two, walked one and allowed one hit in an inning of work in each appearance.
The Bulldogs (22-15) benefited from an ECU error to take a 1-0 lead off Cole in the first. Swauger led off with a single and went to third on an error. Meade’s sac fly scored Swauger.
The Citadel had a chance for more by loading the bases with one out. However, Cole got Reifsnider to hit into a double play.
The 6-0, 174-pound right-handed Cole was lifted in the second after allowing a pair of hits. The Bulldogs loaded the bases once again, but ECU reliever Daniel Holder kept them from adding to their lead.
Corey Kemp hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the second, extending his hitting streak to a career-long 14 games, and scored on Jamie Ray’s two-out single to tie it at 1-1.
Citadel starter Chris McGuiness held the Pirates to the one run on four hits in five innings. The southpaw struck out one and walked one.
Reifsnider ripped a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
That helped end the night for Holder, who allowed the two runs on three hits. Holder struck out three and walked one in 3 2/3 innings.
The Pirates were able to tie the game, 3-3, with a pair of runs off Citadel reliever Raymond Copenhaver in the sixth. Stephen Batts led off with a single, stole second and went to third on an error. After Kemp reached on a fielder’s choice, Batts scored on a failed pickoff attempt.
Henderson was beaned and Roller walked to load the bases. Harrington’s fielder’s choice scored Kemp with the tying run.
The Pirates return to Conference USA play this weekend for a three-game series at No. 11 Rice. Game times are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Citadel 100 020 000 0 — 3 10 3
East Carolina 010 002 000 1 — 4 10 1
WP: Seth Simmons (2-0); LP: Matt Reifsnider (3-2)
Hitters: C — Richard Jones 4-5, Matt Reifsnider 1-5 (HR, 2 RBIs), Chris McGuiness 1-3, Chris Swauger 1-4, Sonny Meade 1-4 (RBI), Bryan Altman 1-5, Trey Thomas 1-1;
ECU — Brandon Henderson 3-4, Dustin Harrington 2-4 (2 RBIs), Stephen Batts 2-4, Kyle Roller 1-4 (2B), Jamie Ray 1-4 (RBI), Corey Kemp 1-5 (2B).