Heston gets hot on the hill for ECU

Published 8:07 am Sunday, March 8, 2009

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
STATESBORO, Ga. — Junior right-hander Chris Heston struck out eight batters in six innings to pace No. 20 East Carolina to a 5-3 win over Indiana Saturday night at the 2009 Holiday Inn Eagle Invitational, which was being played at J.I. Clements Stadium. With the win, ECU improves to 8-1 on the season, while Indiana falls to 3-6.
The story of the night was the pitching as both teams combined for 23 strikeouts. ECU hurlers fanned a combined 13 batters, while Indiana’s Eric Arnett punched out 10 on his own in a complete game loss.
Heston improved to 2-0 on the season allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks. Brad Mincey made his fourth appearance of the season surrendering two hits in two-thirds of an inning. Freshman Patrick Sommers fanned both batters he faced in the seventh, while Bailey Daniels punched out one in two-thirds of a frame.
Sophomore Seth Simmons closed out the win for the Pirates recording his first save of the season and third of his career working a perfect ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts.
Arnett (2-1) threw 150 pitches on the night, 100 of them for strikes allowing five runs (three earned) on 10 hits with four walks to go with his season-high strikeouts.
The Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second thanks to Dustin Harrington’s two-out RBI double to right-center. Kyle Roller led off the frame by reaching on an error then took second on a passed ball and advanced to third on a Brandon Henderson groundout setting up the games first run.
Roller extended the Pirates lead to 3-0 with bases loaded two-RBI single up the middle in the top of the third. Devin Harris led off with an infield single then took third when Trent Whitehead reached on a sac bunt fielder’s choice that was misplayed by Arnett putting runners on second and third with no outs. Stephen Batts loaded the bases with his one-out free pass just before Roller laced a line drive up the middle plating Harris and Whitehead.
Batts pushed ECU’s lead to 4-0 in the fifth when he took first pitch offering from Arnett to dead center-field for his third home run of the season and second of the tournament.
Indiana started manufacturing runs in the bottom of the fifth cutting into the Pirates lead, 4-1. Cody Webber touched home on Evan Crawford’s fielder’s choice for the Hoosiers first run of the contest. Webber doubled to right to start the frame then took second on Jake Dunning’s infield single before touching home on Crawford’s at-bat.
Alex Dickerson cut even further into the Pirates lead, 4-2, when he took a Heston first pitch fastball to right field for his third home run of the season in the sixth.
A run in the seventh drew Indiana within one, 4-3, when Jerrud Sabourin singled in Webber, who once again led off the frame with a base knock. Dunning followed with a single of his own through the right side off Mincey setting up Sabourin’s plate appearance.
Henderson secured the Pirates win in the top of the ninth with his 16th RBI of the season on a sac fly to center that scored Batts giving ECU a 5-3 advantage. Batts was plunked by an Arnett fastball to lead off the frame then moved to second on Roller’s groundout just before he stole third, his second theft base of the night.
The Pirates will square off against host school Georgia Southern this afternoon in the final game of the invitational. ECU will send sophomore Sthil Sowers to the hill, while the Eagles will counter with righty Matt Murray. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.