Sophomore Zach Wright belted a pair of home runs and drove in a career-best four RBI to lead No. 16 East Carolina to a 11-4 win over Monmouth in game two of the three-game series Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
On a perfect day for baseball where the temperatures reached in the mid-70’s, the Pirates (10-8) banged out 11 hits with Wright and freshman John Wooten each collecting three and Seth Maness kept the Hawks (3-5) at bay striking out eight hitters.
Maness (3-2) picked up his third-straight win after working 7.2 innings where he allowed four runs (all earned) on eight hits and walking just one. ECU got solid outings from Mike Anderson (0.2 IP, 1 H), Lance Honeycutt (0.1 IP, BB, K) and D.J. Jauss (0.1 IP) to help the Pirates even the series at one.
Kyle Breese (1-2) went five innings for Monmouth surrendering seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits while fanning four. Jonathan Shippee, the first hurler out of the bull pen, came in at the top of the sixth conceding four runs while only recording two outs before Andy McDonnell was called in to record the final out of the sixth. Matt Goitz came in for seventh inning and only allowed one hit before Chris Perret closed the game.
With the game tied at one heading to the bottom of the third, ECU increased its lead to 5-1 when four consecutive Pirates reached base with two outs. Wooten got things started with an infield single then tool second when Corey Thompson drew a free pass. Devin Harris drove in the first run with an RBI double plating Wooten and putting runners on second and third for the first of two Wright homers.
Monmouth responded with three runs in the fourth to cut the Pirates lead to one, 5-4. Danny Avella drew a one-out walk and Bobby Dombrowski followed with a bloop single to put runners on first and second. After a mound visit by head coach Billy Godwin, Maness got Mike Casale to pop up to second before Cal Costanzo unloaded on a 1-1 offering to right field for his first home run of the season.
The Pirates put the game out of reach scoring two in the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Harris and Wright and four in the sixth to take a commanding 11-4 lead.
Kyle Roller put the Pirates ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first on his 44th career home run, a line drive off the scoreboard in right center.
Monmouth tied the game at one in the third on Ryan Terry’s sac fly to right scoring Matt McEndy, who laced a single up the middle with one out before landing on third during Josh Boyd’s at-bat, a single to right.
The two teams will play the rubber-match Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. (EDT) scheduled first pitch.
Attendance: 3, 337