Pirates win ninth straight game

Published 11:39 am Saturday, March 28, 2009

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, WVa. – Ryan Wood’s RBI single up the middle capped off a two-run sixth inning and lifted No. 19 East Carolina to a 7-6 win over Marshall in game one of a doubleheader Friday afternoon in Conference USA play at the Appalachian Power Park.
The win pushes ECU’s record to 19-4 overall and 4-0 in league play, while The Herd drops to 10-13 overall and 2-2 in C-USA.
In the seventh inning ECU’s Bailey Daniels struck out the side after entering the contest with the bases loaded and no outs.
The Wanchese, N.C. native caught Brandon Casamassima looking and got both Kevin Shackleford and Kenny Socorro to swing at pitches outside the box. After giving up a solo home run to Victor Gomez in the eighth, Seth Simmons came on to close out the ninth for his third save of the season. Starter Chris Heston notched his fourth win of the season after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits in six innings of work with four punch outs and a walk.
Ryan Kiel (2-2) dropped his second decision of the season after allowing seven runs on six hits in five innings with four three walks and four strikeouts. Andrew Blain pitched three scoreless innings of relief allowing just three hits and Justin Moore gave up one hit in the ninth frame.
Dustin Harrington put the Pirates up 2-0 early in the second inning with his second home run of the season. Devin Harris, who extended his current hitting streak to nine games, singled to left to start the frame then touched home on Harrington’s two-run shot to left-center.
Marshall answered the Pirates scoring with a pair of runs bottom of the second to knot the game at two. Thor Meeks’ drove in the first run for the Herd on a sac fly to right that scored Gomez, who led off the inning with a single down the right field line. Josh Valle put runners in scoring position with a double to left center with no outs leading up to Meeks’ at-bat. Kevin Shackelford tied the game with an infield single RBI that plated Valle.
Casamassima put the Herd up 4-2 in the fourth thanks to a two-run shot to left field. Meeks opened the frame with a single to right then touched home on Casamassima’s fourth homer of the year.
Stephen Batts three-run home run in the fifth gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead. Whitehead laced a single up the middle, his second of the day, then took second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball. Wood put runners on the corners with his 21st free pass of the season before Batt’s 23rd career home run.
ECU added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to take a 7-4 lead. Harrington led off with a walk then took third on Jared Avchen’s shot to right-center that first looked to be a home run, but was ruled a double putting runners at second and third with no outs. Cam Freeman reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Harrington out at home on a sac bunt just before Avchen scored on a throwing error by Shackelford on Freeman’s stolen base attempt for the first run of the frame. Wood picked up his 21st RBI of the season on a single up the middle that scored Freeman from second.
Meeks drew a bases loaded walk in the seventh to cut the ECU lead to 7-5. Nate Lape singled to start the inning then moved to second on a Victor Gomez walk before Valle loaded the bases when he reached on a ECU error.
Gomez blasted his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center, to pull Marshall within one, 7-6.
Game two suspended in the seventh inning
The second game of the doubleheader between No. 19 East Carolina and Marshall has been suspended due to rain and will resume Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Marshall officials announced Friday night.
At the time of the suspension, ECU (19-4, 4-0 C-USA) and Marshall (10-13, 2-2 C-USA) were tied at one in the middle of the seventh frame.
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, sophomore Austin Homan ripped a two-out double off the left field wall to score Jared Avchen from first base knotting the game at one each. Avchen recorded his third hit of the game, a single through the right side, with two outs and came around to touch home on Homan’s 10th RBI of the season.
Both starting pitchers had pin-point control at the time of the suspension. ECU’s Seth Maness scattered five hits over six innings allowing one run, a home run, with four punch outs and retired the side in the first and sixth innings.
The Herd’s Dan Straily was equally impressive working seven full frames giving up one run on six hits, while fanning a career-high eight batters with one walk.
Victor Gomez put Marshall up 1-0 on a solo shot to left-center, his sixth of the season, in the bottom of the second inning.
The decision to play game three of the Conference USA series will be made at the conclusion of game two. Weather permitting on Sunday the game will be played at its regularly scheduled time.