Pirates top Catamounts in LeClair Classic|Freeman clubs two-run homer

Published 3:21 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE – Cam Freeman's two-run home run in the eighth inning coupled with a strong pitching performance from Seth Maness helped No. 11 East Carolina to a 5-4 win over in-state foe West Carolina Sunday afternoon in the Seventh Annual Keith LeClair Classic at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, ECU (7-3) got back-to-back home runs from Devin Harris and Zach Wright to take a 3-2 lead and really never looked back.
Maness (1-2), who was pitching on Sunday due to an ankle injury suffered last week against South Carolina, allowed two runs (both earned) on eight hits and struck out a season-best seven batters. After giving up two runs in the third, Maness retired nine of the next 10 hitters to record his first win of the season. Junior Seth Simmons notched his third save of the season working the final 1.2 frames where he allowed two runs on two hits to hold off a Catamount (8-2) late rally.
Vance Chavis (2-1) suffered his first loss of the year after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits in 6.2 innings. The left-hander struck out five batters and walked two before being lifted for Andrew Chilcoat (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R). Mat bats (0.1 IP) and Brandon Johnson (0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) pitched the final inning of the contest.
Wright's sac fly to center scored Harris from third to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Harris laced a one-out double down the right field line then took third on a failed pickoff by Western's catcher before trotting home for the games first run.
The Catamounts answered with a pair of runs in the top half of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Consecutive one-out base knocks by Dylan de Graaf (single) and Austin Shultz (double) tied the game at one before Shultz touched home on Tyler White's RBI single to left.
Freeman smacked his second home run of the season in the eighth to extend ECU's lead to three, 5-2. Corey Thompson doubled to right field to start the frame and scored when Freeman hit a towering shot to left center with one out on a 0-1 offering.
The Catamounts plated a pair of runs in the ninth before Simmons got de Graaf to fly out to right field for the Pirates fifth straight win. Radley Haddad and Tyler Kirkpatrick drew consecutive walks before pinch hitter Cory Cronan laced a double to right field scoring Haddad and advancing Kirkpatrick to third, who would come home on Western's next at-bat, a sac fly to center from Trevor Collias.
ECU will be back in action next week when they travel to California for a midweek matchup with Cal State Northridge and a three-game series with Pepperdine.
Post-Game Notes:
Attendance: 3,348
With the win Sunday, the Pirates claimed the Keith LeClair Classic crown … In seven years of the event, ECU has won four LeClair Classic titles (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010) and improved its all-time LeClair record to 16-4.
Dustin Harrington extended his current hitting streak to 18 games with a leadoff double down the left field line to start the third inning … He finished the day 1-for-4 and closed out the tourney batting .462 (6-for-13).
Other hitting streaks extended: Corey Thompson (7), Trent Whitehead (5), Cam Freeman (4) and John Wooten (4).
Devin Harris recorded his 22 career multi-hit game with his first home run of the season in the seventh inning … Harris now has 15 career round trippers.
Zach Wright posted his fifth career multi-RBI game … Wright drove in the games first run with a sac fly in the second and hit his second home run of the season and fifth of his career in the seventh inning … He collected his fifth career multi-hit game with a double in the eighth inning.
The last time ECU hit back-to-back home runs was on May 9, 2009 at Houston (Dustin Harrington and Drew Schieber).
Cam Freeman smacked his second home run of the season and third of his career in the eighth inning … Freeman also posted his sixth career multi-hit and fourth career multi-RBI games.
Seth Simmons recorded his 14th career save and second of the weekend and is one away from tying Shane Mathews (2004-07) for third place on the school's all-time list.
ECU collected double-digit hits in all three games over the weekend and in 7 of 10 games played.