GREENVILLE, N.C. - Chris Baker and Joshua Wright each drove in a pair of runs as Old Dominion (27-22) upset No. 30 East Carolina (34-18) in the Pirates home finale 7-4 Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the game knotted at two in the third, ODU plated a pair of runs to take a 4-2 lead and never looked back. Baker started the frame with a single to center then took third on Shawn Sizemore’s double down the left field line. Joey Burney’s ground out to second scored Baker, the game-winning run, and Nathan Hartman followed with another RBI ground out to account for both runs in the frame.
Louis Singleton (2-2) recorded the win holding the Pirates to two runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings of work. Ben Verlander, the younger brother of Major Leaguer Justin Verlander, was touched for two runs (both earned) in one-third of an inning before giving way to Dean Ali in the sixth, who kept ECU scoreless through 1.2 innings despite giving up three hits. Erick Baker tossed a scoreless inning of relief and Adam Wisniewski notched his 13th save of the season working a scoreless ninth.
Brad Mincey (5-3) suffered the loss allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits in two innings of relief. Pirate starter Zach Woods was chased after 1.2 innings where he was touched for two runs (both earned) on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Shawn Armstrong entered the game in the fourth with runners on the corners and two outs getting Sizemore to reach on a fielder’s choice where Baker was forced out at second. He finished the game working 2.1 innings allowing one run on three hits with a pair of strikeouts. A trio of hurlers (Austin Chrismon, Joseph Hughes and Seth Simmons) closed out the final three frames.
ODU jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first thanks two a leadoff double by Brandon Shelton, a hit batter in Brent Frazier and another double off the bat Wright to left field – all on four pitches from Woods.
ECU responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the stanza, tying the game at two. Philip Clark, who was 3-for-5 on the night, doubled to right center, took third on Corey Thompson’s ground out and crossed home on a wild pitch. Trent Whitehead kept things going with a double to left and scored when Chase McDonald reached on a throwing error by Wright at short.
Baker extended the Monarchs lead to three, 5-2, with a RBI single in the fourth inning. Shelton singled to left center, Brent Frazier followed with a shot back up the middle before Baker lined a base knock to right field.
After ODU pushed across another run in the sixth to take a 6-2 lead, ECU cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. John Wooten singled up the middle scoring McDonald, who walked to start the sixth, and Jack Reinheimer scored Zach Wright on a sac fly to left field, making it a 6-4 game.
The Monarchs added an insurance run in the seventh when Eric Hernandez doubled home Sizemore for a 7-4 advantage. Sizemore walked to start the inning and came around on a two-base hit to left center.
With two outs and Thompson on second and Whitehead on first in the bottom of the seventh, a potential rally was thwarted when Whitehead was called out on runner’s interference on a line drive off of Wright’s bat that struck Whitehead in the ankle for the third out.
Offensively the Pirates recorded 12 hits with Clark and Wright each collecting three. Whitehead continued his hot hitting with his 20th multi-hit game of the season and 11 since the series opener against Rice on April 8th.
The Pirates will be back in action on Thursday, May 19th when they travel to Tulane for the final Conference USA series of the season.