Pirates fall to Phoenix

Published 6:09 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
ELON – Mike Melillo’s first career grand slam highlighted an Elon (29-13) six-run third inning that saw 12 batters step to the plate as the Phoenix walked away with a 10-8 win over No. 21 East Carolina (32-14) Tuesday night in front of a record-crowd of 1,873 at Latham Park.
Melillo, who was 2-for-4 on the night, hit his 12th home run of the season when he took a Bailey Daniels first pitch offering to left center clearing the bases and putting Elon up 7-4 at the time. Bennett Davis led off with a single to left center then took second on Chase Austin’s single up the middle. After Pat Irvine drew a bases loaded walk, Melillo cleared the bases with one swing. A hit batter and four consecutive walks added two more runs moving the score to 9-3.
Tom Porter (1-2) picked up his first win of the season after tossing five strong innings allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with a walk, five strikeouts and hit three batters.
John Brebbia (1 H), Cory Harrilchak (2 R, 1 H) and Ryan Adams (2 Ks) each pitched an inning of relief. Jimmy Reyes faced three batters recording one out and giving up two runs before Thomas Girdwood came on to close his 13th game of the season by fanning the final two batters of the game.
Mike Wright (0-2) was saddled with the loss after giving up five runs on five hits in two innings of work with a walk and a punch out. ECU used three pitchers out of the bullpen in Bailey Daniels (0.2 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BBs) and Patrick Somers (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BBs) bridged the gap to Britton Cole who went 4 2/3 shutout innings (career-high) giving up four hits with a strikeout.
ECU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on a pair of ground outs to short. Trent Whitehead walked to start the game then took second when Ryan Wood was plunked by a Porter pitch in the shoulder. After a passed ball moved the runners up 90 feet, Kyle Roller drove in Whitehead then Brandon Henderson pushed across Wood on another groundout to Neal Pritchard.
A pair of home runs by Davis and Irvine erased a 2-0 ECU lead putting the Phoenix up 3-2 in the bottom of the first. Harrilchak led off the frame with a double down the right field line extending his school record to 75 straight games reaching base before touching home on Davis’ two-run home run to center. Irvine gave Elon the lead when he took a full count offering to right field.
Roller tied the game at three when he pushed across Whitehead on a ground out to first in the top half of the third. Whitehead led off the inning with a double down the right field line then took second on Wood’s fly ball to right field setting up the third run of the game for ECU.
Dustin Harrington’s second hit of the game cut the Phoenix lead to five, 9-4, in the fourth. Batts was hit for the second time on the night then moved to second on a passed ball and landed on third due to a Porter balk before crossing home on Harrington’s RBI single up the middle.
Elon added a run in the fourth when pinch hitter Greg Annarummo grounded out to first scoring Dallas Tarleton for a 10-4 advantage.
Whitehead smacked his fifth home run of the season and Austin Homan drove in Wood on a ground out to pull the Pirates within four, 10-6, in the seventh. Whitehead took a Harrilchak 2-0 offering to left field to lead off the inning. Wood Wood reached on an error by the center fielder Harry Austin and ended up on second with no outs before taking third on a sac fly by Roller.
Wood collected his first hit of the evening in the top of the ninth, a two-run homer, cutting the Phoenix lead to 10-8. Whitehead reached on a throwing error by Pritchard before touching home on Wood’s 29th career home run.
The Pirates will be back in action Friday night when they play host to Louisiana Lafayette with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.