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Pirates bash the Blazers

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — If Corey Kemp keeps this up, the East Carolina senior catcher is going to find his name on several more postseason watch lists.
Kemp, who is on the Dick Howser Watch List and Johnny Bench Watch List, homered, drove in four runs and scored three times to lead the Pirates to a 13-6 win over the UAB Blazers.
Kemp, Jamie Ray and Ryan Wood all smashed three-run homers in Friday’s Conference USA game at Clark-LeClair Stadium, coming in front of 3,272 fans. Wood added a solo shot to match Kemp’s game-high four RBIs on the night.
The Pirates (34-13, 9-7), who have won seven straight, got another solid outing from starter Seth Maness. The freshman, who ran his record to 8-0, held the Blazers (19-25, 4-12) to three runs (two earned) on six hits. Maness fanned seven and didn’t walk a batter in seven innings of work.
UAB starter James Oliver (4-3) gave up two of the Pirates’ three-run homers. Kemp went deep in the third and Ray homered in the fourth off Oliver. Wood went yard in the fifth off reliever Johnny Volk.
The Pirates used three singles in the second to take a 1-0 lead. Kemp started the inning with a sharp single that bounced off the wall in center. After Kyle Roller singled to put runners at the corners, Dustin Harrington slapped a hit that scored Kemp.
ECU added to its lead in the third. Harrison Eldridge led off with a single and later scored on a wild pitch. After Wood singled and Stephen Batts walked, Kemp unloaded his team-leading 13th home run of the season to make it 5-0.
The Pirates added four more runs in the fourth. Kemp’s RBI single, which gave him a team-best 54 RBIs on the year, made it 6-0. Ray’s three-run shot, giving the senior outfielder 12 hits and 17 RBIs in his last seven games, made it 9-0.
Brint Hardy’s two-run homer in the fifth got the Blazers on the scoreboard.
Wood answered with a three-run dinger in the bottom half to make it 12-2. His solo shot in the seventh, Wood’s tenth on the year, increased the lead to 13-3.
UAB scored three late runs to pull within 13-6.
The teams will play a doubleheader today beginning at 3 p.m. ECU and UAB were scheduled to play today and tomorrow, but expected inclement weather Sunday prompted officials to play two today.
The Pirates will wear special camouflage hats in honor of Military Appreciation Day. Justin Bristow (6-2) will take the hill for the Pirates in the first game, while UAB will counter with Mitch Kloskowski (5-4).
ECU senior T.J. Hose (4-4) will start the series finale. Kyle Roberson (4-5) will start for the Blazers.
UAB 000 020 121 — 6 8 0
ECU 014 430 00x — 13 16 4
WP: Seth Maness (8-0); LP: James Oliver (4-3)
Hitters: UAB — Brint Hardy 2-4 (HR, 2 RBIs), Luke Stewart 2-4 (2B), Billy Lichtner 1-1 (2B), Nick Crawford 1-3, Cody McMurry 1-3, Ryan Keedy 1-4 (2B, 2 RBIs); ECU — Corey Kemp 3-4 (HR, 4 RBIs, 3 runs), Ryan Wood 3-5 (2 HRs, 4 RBIs, 3 runs), Jamie Ray 2-5 (HR, 3 RBIs), Harrison Eldridge 2-3, Stephen Batts 2-3, Kyle Roller 2-4, Trent Whitehead 1-4, Dustin Harrington 1-5 (RBI).