Avchen’s double helps collar Bulldogs
Published 8:38 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Patience is a virtue. The No. 20 East Carolina Pirates are about as patient as they come.
The Pirates, who collected 10 base knocks for their 11th consecutive double-digit hit game, used some late-inning magic to rally past the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs, 4-2, Tuesday at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
“We just put three hits together in a row,” ECU coach Billy Godwin said about his team’s eighth-inning comeback. “That’s what this team can do.”
Once again, ECU (9-2) did it with a two-out rally. The Pirates have scored 45 of their 93 runs this season with two outs.
“It’s something we’ve noticed and something we talk about,” Godwin said. “We talk a lot that the inning is not over. We get three outs and utilize every inning, and every pitch that you get at the plate.”
Drew Schieber started the eighth-inning rally with a two-out single off Asheville reliever Ryan Dull (0-3). Dustin Harrington followed with a single of his own. Jared Avchen then laced a double into the left field corner, allowing both runners to score for a 4-2 lead.
“I got a good pitch to hit,” Avchen said. “I was looking for something middle-in (on the plate). I got it on the first pitch and hit it pretty well.”
The rally helped make a winner of Brad Mincey (3-0), who pitched two innings of one-hit ball. Mincey struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.
Seth Simmons closed it out with a perfect ninth. He struck out a pair in notching his second save.
Asheville (3-10) jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Beau Zinman led off the second inning with his first home run of the year.
Cody Buch hit a two-out double and Kevin Weidenbacher followed with an RBI-single in the fourth.
That’s all ECU starter Mike Anderson allowed. The sophomore, who finished with a career-high six strikeouts, gave up two runs on five hits in six innings.
ECU tied it with single runs in the fourth and seventh innings.
Stephen Batts hit a leadoff double in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. The senior trotted home on Brandon Henderson’s sac fly, pulling the Pirates within 2-1. Asheville starter Michael Bogaert allowed the one run on three hits in three innings of work.
Harrington’s leadoff single in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 15 games. A single by Devin Harris and a walk to Trent Whitehead, who pushed his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the first, loaded the bases. Ryan Wood’s sac fly scored Harrington to tie the game at 2-2.
Asheville reliever Grier Harrington surrendered the run on three hits in his three innings of work.
The Pirates and Bulldogs play again today at 3 p.m. Shawn Armstrong, a West Craven graduate, will make his ECU debut as he’ll get the start on the mound.
ECU takes Thursday off before returning to Clark-LeClair for a three-game series with the UCLA Bruins. Game times are 5 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.