No. 17 ECU puts end to recent skid

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Trent Whitehead’s third home run of the year, all coming against N.C. State, helped lead the No. 17 East Carolina Pirates to a 7-0 victory over the Wolfpack.
More importantly, Wednesday evening’s win in front of 4,902 fans, the sixth largest in Clark-LeClair Stadium history, put an end to ECU’s recent slide. The Pirates (27-10, 9-3 C-USA) had lost five of its previous six games before beating the Wolfpack (19-18, 7-11 ACC) for the second time in two weeks.
Whitehead has seemingly become a Wolfpack killer. The sophomore, a former standout at Washington High School, belted two home runs, drove in five and collected three hits in leading ECU to a 14-4 victory at N.C. State on April 1.
Starter Kevin Brandt (5-1), who admitted to being a Wolfpack fan while growing up, gave the Pirates the spark they needed on the mound. The freshman lefty handcuffed the Wolfpack for a career-long 6 2/3 innings, scattering three hits while fanning four and walking three.
The Pirates took control with a four-run fifth inning, grabbing a 7-0 advantage. Drew Schieber hit a two-run double, while Dustin Harrington (3-for-4, RBI) and Jared Avchen added RBI-singles in the uprising.
All the damage came off Wolfpack reliever Joey Cutler. He recorded just one out and gave up the four runs on five hits.
The Pirates were able to scratch across two runs in the second. Schieber (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) led off with a double and the senior went to third on Harrington’s infield single. Schieber later scored on Avchen’s sac fly, while Harrington trotted home on Ryan Wood’s (2-for-4, RBI) slap into left.
Whitehead’s third home run of the year, matching the total from his freshman season, gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead in the fourth. The sophomore belted N.C. State starter Cory Mazzoni’s 1-0 offering over the fence in left-center.
That helped end the day for Mazzoni (1-4), who gave up the three runs on six hits in four innings.
Brad Mincey, Bailey Daniels and Seth Simmons closed it out for the Pirates.
ECU returns to Conference USA play this weekend with a three-game series at Tulane. The Pirates and Green Wave will play at 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
ECU will return home Tuesday for a five-game homestand. The Pirates will face Elon on Tuesday, North Carolina on Wednesday and Southern Miss next weekend.