GREENVILLE, N.C. - Trent Whitehead continued his hot hitting going 3-for-4 with a RBI game-winning triple as East Carolina (10-3) squeaked by Monmouth 4-3 Friday night during game two of the Eighth Annual Keith LeClair Classic at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the game tied at three in the seventh, Whitehead drilled a first pitch offering from Hawks (3-5) reliever Andrew McGee to deep center scoring Jack Reinheimer, who led off with a single down the right field line, with the go-ahead run. For Whitehead it was his first three-bagger of the season and second-straight three-hit game, which raised his average to .321 on the season.
Seth Maness (3-1) wasn’t as sharp as his last outing when he scattered two hits in a complete game shutout effort against Pepperdine, but he was good enough and picked up his 31st career win after working seven innings where he allowed three runs (all earned) on seven hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. Brad Mincey was stellar in his one inning of relief striking out two before handing the ball over to left-hander Jake Harris, who got pinch hitter Jake Gronsky to ground out to second in the ninth for the first out of the inning. Seth Simmons closed the door on the Hawks allowing a hit before retiring the final two hitters of the game for his third save of the season and 23rd of his career.
McGee (2-1) was saddled with the loss in his fourth appearance out of the bullpen working two innings where he gave up a run on two hits with a pair of walks. Starter Nick Meyers limited the Pirates to three runs (all earned) on six hits with three punch outs and two walks before being lifted for McGee in the seventh.
The Pirates took and early 1-0 in the second frame when Chris Gosik scored on Tim Younger’s fielder’s choice sac bunt. Gosik ripped a lead off double to left center and moved to third on Philip Clark’s single through the left side setting up the first run of the contest.
Zach Wright extended ECU’s lead to 3-0 in the third inning on his third home run of the season, a shot to left center that scored John Wooten after his two-out single to right center.
Consecutive singles through the left side by Owen Stewart and Cal Costanzo to start the fifth inning helped Monmouth tie the game at three. After a sac bunt by Josh Boyd moved both runners up 90 feet, Ryan Terry singled to right scoring Stewart and Ed Martin followed with a RBI single down the left field line plating Costanzo. Terry scored the tying run when Nick Pulsonetti reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Pirates and Hawks each had eight hits on the night, while the Pirate hurlers continued to pitch well striking out 11 pushing their season total to 101.
ECU will be back in action Saturday, March 12 when they play host to Rutgers in game four of the LeClair Classic with a 3 p.m. (ET) first pitch scheduled. Monmouth will square off against Liberty in the first game of the day at 11 a.m. (ET).