No. 23 Pirates doused by Green Wave|Errors prove costly in C-USA opener

Published 8:53 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — When adversity strikes, a team can either rally or fall apart.
At first glimpse, it appears East Carolina is following the latter. In the first game since the team dismissed shortstop Dustin Harrington and pitcher Sthil Sowers because of rule infractions, the No. 23 Pirates fell 10-5 to the Tulane Green Wave.
ECU coach Billy Godwin would not discuss the loss of his players following Friday’s loss.
Harrington’s bat, where he led the Pirates (17-10, 0-1) in hitting with a .443 average, and glove were glaringly missing from the lineup in Friday night’s Conference USA opener at Clark-LeClair Stadium. ECU finished with 10 hits spread throughout the game, and three errors — including a costly one by shortstop Corey Thompson — that led to seven unearned runs by the Green Wave (18-9, 3-1).
Thompson, who is the leading hitter on the Pirates at the moment with a .376 batting average, said the Pirates will be just fine.
“(Harrington) was a big, big key contributor to us, but we’re going to be okay, I believe,” Thompson said. “It hurts the team, but we have to battle back. We’re going to be okay.
“We just have to find our groove again without two of our key players. We just have to keep it rolling.”
Thompson, playing at shortstop in place of the dismissed Harrington, committed an error that led to a four-run first inning by the Green Wave. Catcher Jeremy Schaffer (2-4, HR, 5 RBIs) provided the big blow with a grand slam.
Thompson, who had been ECU’s regular third baseman, short-hopped a throw to first baseman Austin Homan, allowing Blake Crohan (2-5, 2 RBIs) to reach safely with two outs. Rob Segedin (2-2, 2 RBIs, 2B, 3B) and Brandon Boudreaux proceeded to draw walks off ECU starter Kevin Brandt (2-3).
Schaffer cleared the bases with his blast over the fence in left, his fourth home run of the season.
Godwin believes Thompson, who had three putouts following the error, will be just fine at shortstop.
“He’ll get acclimated to that,” Godwin said. “He’s a good player. He’s going to be fine. It’s just going to take him a few games to get his feet back under him playing at that position.”
John Wooten’s (2-4, RBI) RBI-single in the second pulled ECU within 4-1.
Tulane pushed its lead to 7-1 with a three-run third. Segedin hit a two-run double and Schaffer had a sac fly.
Kyle Roller (1-3, 2 RBIs) made it 7-2 in the bottom half with a run-scoring single.
Brian Barry’s pinch-hit single in the sixth gave Tulane an 8-2 advantage.
Brandt gave up the eight runs (three earned) on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. The sophomore southpaw struck out eight, including four straight at one point, and walked two.
“Kevin did a good job of saving our bullpen,” Godwin said. “I thought that was critical. He gave us a quality start. He hung in there and battled. We didn’t make some good plays behind him.”
The Pirates closed within 8-4 in the bottom half on RBI singles off the bats of Homan (2-3, RBI) and Philip Clark. They chased Tulane starter Conrad Flynn (3-2), who gave up the four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, in the process.
Crohan slapped a two-run single in the eighth for a 10-4 lead.
Roller’s groundout scored Trent Whitehead, who had reached on an error, in the ninth to close out the scoring.
The teams will play a doubleheader today beginning at 1 p.m. ECU’s Seth Maness (4-2) will square off against Tulane starter Matt Petiton (1-2) in the opener. Mike Wright (2-1) gets the nod for the Pirates in the second game, while the Green Wave will counter with Robby Broach (4-0).
Newly hired ECU basketball coach Jeff Lebo threw out the ceremonial first pitch
Trent Whitehead, a former standout with the Washington Pam Pack, saw his six-game hitting streak come to an end. He went 0-for-5. The junior leadoff batter was robbed of a hit by left fielder Blake Crohan in the first inning.
D.J. Jauss threw 1 1/3 innings of one-hit ball for the Pirates. He struck out one and walked two.