Feb. 27, 2010
Grteenville, N.C. – Three consecutive two-out singles including RBI base hits from Corey Thompson and Trent Whitehead helped East Carolina rally from a one-run deficit in the ninth to a 4-3 victory over South Carolina on Saturday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium. South Carolina falls to 4-1 on the year while East Carolina improves to 3-3 for the season. The rubber game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon with the broadcast live on 107.5 FM “The Game,” the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com with Tommy Moody and Derek Scott on the call.
South Carolina held a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning when ECU made its final charge. Austin Homan drew a leadoff walk against Gamecock reliever Michael Roth to give the Pirates a runner to open the frame. Roth fought back though and struck out Philip Clark to give the Gamecocks the first out of the inning. South Carolina would then go to the bullpen for reliever John Taylor, who was able to get the second out as Bobby Haney fielded a slow roller from Cameron Freeman and threw cleanly to first to secure the out as ECU pinch runner Bryan Bass advanced to second base. With two outs and a 0-1 count, ECU third baseman Corey Thompson knocked a ball into the hole between third base and shortstop that bounced past Gamecock shortstop Bobby Haney and into left field scoring Bass and tying the game at 3-3. ECU’s Zach Wright followed with an infield single, again into the hole between third and short setting the stage for Whitehead. On a 2-1 pitch, Whitehead laced a single into right field that scored pincher runner Chris Gosik and lifted the Pirates to a 4-3 victory.
ECU reliever Seth Simmons earned the win with an inning of relief. He is 1-0 on the year. Taylor falls to 0-1 after 0.1 innings of work.
Saturday’s see-saw affair saw the Gamecocks break ahead 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning as Adam Matthews delivered with a two-run triple. Nick Ebert drew a leadoff walk against East Carolina starter Kevin Brandt and Kyle Enders doubled to give the Gamecocks runners in scoring position. With one out, Matthews knocked the first pitch from Brandt over ECU right fielder Devin Harris to score both runners. It was Matthews’s second career triple, the previous coming on March, 2009 vs. Long Beach State.
East Carolina struck back in the bottom half though as Kyle Roller connected with a two-run homer to tie the game. Trent Whitehead had an infield single to open the inning and with one out and the count full, Roller drove a pitch from Sam Dyson over the right centerfield wall, his second home run of the year. Despite the home run, Dyson was effective in four innings of his second start of the year as he allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one batter.
Both teams mixed and matched for the remainder of the game as both pitching staffs kept each other at bay. South Carolina received a solid relief outing from sophomore left-hander Jimmy Revan, who went two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
South Carolina would take its second lead of the game in the top of the seventh inning with an unearned run off of Brandt. Whit Merrifield reached base with two outs on a dropped fly ball by right fielder Devin Harris and later scored as Adrian Morales singled to right field giving the Gamecocks the 3-2 cushion.
Brandt finished his outing after 6.2 innings allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Jay Brown worked 0.2 scoreless innings of relief as well for the Gamecocks with Roth going 1.2 innings and allowing one run on one hit with two strikeouts and a walk.
East Carolina finished with a 10-8 advantage in hits. Whitehead was 3-for-4 with Thompson and Wright also tallying two hits apiece for the Pirates. Enders went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Bobby Haney was 2-for-4 to lead South Carolina. Enders has hit safely in all five games this year, as has Whit Merrifield, who reached base with a first inning single that extended a hitting streak that began last season to 19 games.