Gosik guides ECU past Rutgers

Published 9:49 pm Friday, March 18, 2011

GREENVILLE – The East Carolina baseball team just keeps finding ways to win and Friday night sophomore Chris Gosik’s infield single in the bottom of the 11th gave the Pirates (14-4) a 3-2 win over Rutgers (7-9) at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Gosik stepped up to the plate in the 11th with the bases loaded and two outs and sent a soft dribbler back to the mound, where right-hander Joe Esposito was unable to pick up the ball and make a play at the plate scoring John Wooten and giving ECU to their 11th win in the last 13 games and seventh one-run victory of the season.

Wooten stepped to the plate to start the 11th stanza and sent a fly ball to deep center, where Brandon Boykin was unable to secure the ball in his glove for a two-base error. After a pair of quick outs, Ben Fultz was intentionally walked and Jack Reinheimer reached on a fielding error by shortstop Pat Sweeney setting up the game winning run.

Trailing 2-1 in the ninth inning and down to their last strike, Fultz hit his first collegiate home run, a missile to right field, tying the game at two for the Pirates and sending the game into extra innings.

Brad Mincey (4-0), who has not allowed a run in 19.2 consecutive innings, picked up the win on the mound working a perfect 11th frame recording two strikeouts. But the story of the night was Seth Maness tossing a career-best and new school-record 10 innings where he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The senior right-hander threw 108 pitches facing 36 batters and didn’t issue a walk for the third time in five starts.

Esposito (0-1) suffered the loss allowing a run in one inning of work with a walk. Starter Tyler Gebler was equally impressive as Maness scattering eight hits over seven innings where he allowed one run with five strikeouts. Rob Corsi (1.0 IP), Jerry Elsing (1.0 IP, H, R, 2 Ks) and Dan O’Neill (0.2 IP, BB) bridged the gap to Esposito.

Rutgers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to a pair of hits and a catcher’s interference call. D.J. Anderson stroked a single to right center and Russ Hopkins reached when Zach Wright interfered with the batter, putting runners at first and second with no outs. After a sac bunt from Bill Hoermann moved the runner’s up, Jeff Melillo broke a scoreless tie on a sac fly scoring Anderson. Dan Perrine followed with a two-out triple to right center scoring Hopkins for a two-run lead.

Both teams went scoreless over the next four frames until Reinheimer’s sac fly to center scored Philip Clark to pull ECU within one, 2-1. Chase McDonald reached on an infield single then was lifted for the speedy Clark, who stole second base and took third on Fultz’ sac bunt.

ECU pounded out double-digit hits for the eighth time this season with Gosik (3) and Corey Thompson (2) each collecting multiple hits.

The Pirates and Scarlet Knights will continue the three-game non-conference series Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. (EST).