East Carolina Takes Series With 4-2 Win Over Gamecocks
Feb. 28, 2010
Greenville, N.C. - East Carolina jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and held off a late South Carolina rally to defeat the Gamecocks 4-2 and win the rubber game of a three-game series at Clark-LeClair Stadium. South Carolina drops to 4-2 on the year while the win improves East Carolina to 4-3 for the season. South Carolina returns to action on Tuesday night hosting Presbyterian with first pitch at Carolina Stadium set for 7 p.m. with the game broadcast live on GamecocksOnline.com and on the Gamecock Radio Network including flagship station 107.5 FM "The Game."
East Carolina rode the momentum of a three-run first inning and added a an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth that was enough to back starting pitcher Brad Mincey, who worked seven innings and allowed one run, unearned, on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks to pick up the victory. The game was not without drama though as the Gamecocks scratched back to score a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth innings only to see the rally fall short. Seth Simmons came on in relief for ECU and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings with two strikeouts to pick up his first save of the year. Gamecock starter Steven Neff went 3.2 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk to suffer the loss. He is 1-1 on the year.
The Pirates continued to hit well with two outs and runners in scoring position, scoring three runs with two outs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead. Austin Homan knocked a double down the left field line to score Dustin Harrington and Corey Thompson poked a single just fair down the right field line to score John Wooten and Austin Homan. East Carolina increased the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth scoring a run despite not getting a hit. Devin Harris drew a leadoff walk, was balked over to second base, advanced to third on a failed pickoff by Neff and scored on a wild pitch with two outs.
Although ECU was up 4-0, the Gamecocks stayed in the game behind freshman left-hander Tyler Webb's strong outing out of the bullpen. In relief, Webb hurled 4.1 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits while striking out three batters to keep the Gamecocks in the game and in striking distance of the Pirates.
South Carolina got on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh inning with an unearned run against Mincey. Nick Ebert drew his fourth walk of the series to lead off and advanced to second base on a base hit up the middle by Robert Beary. Ebert then scored as Bobby Haney reached base on a fielder's choice. On the play, second baseman Cameron Freeman threw low and past first baseman John Wooten allowing Ebert to score from third to home and bringing the Gamecocks within three runs.
The Gamecocks continued their rally in the top of the eighth inning with another run against the Pirates to cut the deficit to 4-2. Whit Merrifield extended a hitting streak that began last season to 20 games with a single followed by a pinch-hit base hit by Jackie Bradley Jr. The at bat for Bradley was his first of the season after having surgery over two weeks ago on his right hand. A one-out walk to Jeffery Jones would load the bases for the Gamecocks. ECU closer Seth Simmons battled for the Pirates and struck out Ebert to record the second out of the inning. Kyle Enders, however, struck back for the Gamecocks as he knocked an infield single that shortstop Dustin Harrington couldn't come up with scoring Merrifield to bring Carolina within two runs. Simmons escaped further damage in the inning as he recorded the third out on a fly ball to right field off the bat of Beary. He would retire the Gamecocks in order in the ninth inning to close the game out for East Carolina.
East Carolina finished with a 9-6 advantage in hits. Harrington was 3-for-4 and Thompson went 1-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Pirates at the plate. Six different Gamecocks accounted for six singles. Along with Merrifield, catcher Kyle Enders has hit safely in all six contests this year for Carolina.
Sophomore outfielder Adam Matthews had to leave the game after spraining his right ankle running out a ground ball in the top of the first inning.