GREENVILLE, N.C. - Dustin Harrington homered in his third consecutive game and Zach Wright belted a grand slam as No. 25 East Carolina cruised to its fourth straight win Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium with a 15-6 victory over in-state foe N.C. A&T.
Harrington, who is batting .750 in his last three games, continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-5 performance including a three-run bomb in the third that put the game out of reach.
Wright started the fireworks in the first when he took a 2-1 offering from Nick Oelker over the right field wall giving the Pirates and early 5-0 lead. Devin Harris, who was 2-for-4 with three RBI, plated the first run of the game on a single to left that scored Harrington after he doubled with one out. Roller followed Harrington at-bat with first of two free passes on the night and John Wooten loaded the bases for Wright when Oelker drilled him with an off-speed pitch.
Corey Thompson’s single up the middle scored Trent Whitehead to give ECU a 6-0 lead. Whitehead walked with one out and raced to third on Roller’s single to center before crossing home in the second inning.
Zach Woods improved to 3-1 on the year after allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts in five innings. Freshman Shawn Armstrong had another solid outing out of the bull pen fanning four and walking one in three frames. Mike Anderson worked the eighth inning allowing one hit and striking out two.
Nick Oelker (1-2) suffered his second loss of the season surrendering 12 runs (all earned) on nine hits with six walks. Esterlin Paulino gave up one hit in relief and Jonathan Smith held the Pirates to three runs on four hits with four punch outs in four innings of relief.
The Aggies (6-12) scored in the top of the third to cut the lead to five, 6-1, on Nick Rogers RBI single. George Hines drew a one-out walk then stole second base to move into scoring position before coming up on Rogers’ single up the middle.
With two outs in the bottom half of the third, ECU broke the game open pushing across six runs to take a commanding 12-1 lead. Jared Avchen and Cam Freeman received free passes and Whitehead, who was three for his last 25, singled to center driving in Avchen for the game-winning run. Harrington stepped up to the plate and uncorked a shot to left clearing the bases.
The Pirates continued their two-out scoring in the third on Wooten’s two-RBI single up the middle that scored both Roller and Thompson.
Kelvin Freeman stroked his first home run of the season on a first pitch offering from Woods in the fourth inning to put the score at 12-2.
After holding the Pirates scoreless in the fourth, the Aggies scored four runs on two hits with three Pirate errors to cut the lead in half, 12-6. Dario Little scored the first run on Xavier Macklin’s double to left in which he ended up on third thanks to an errant through by Harrington, who was trying to gun down Little at the plate. Marquis Riley drove in Macklin on the next Aggie at-bat when he grounded out to second base. Kelvin Freeman reached on an error by Thompson, Ryan Carlton walked and Mark Nales reached on an infield single to load the bases for James Howard, who also reached on a Pirate error scoring both Freeman and Carlton.
ECU got one of the runs back in the eighth on Cam Freeman’s sac fly that scored Wright, who tripled to start the frame to right center capping the scoring at 15-6.
The Pirates will be back in action this weekend when the host N.C. Central in a three-game non-conference series, which will start at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
• Attendance: 2,641
• Zach Wright smacked his sixth home run of the season in the first with his first career grand slam … The last time a Pirate hit a grand slam was on May 31, 2009 when Brandon Henderson hit one against South Carolina in the Greenville Regional … Wright narrowly missed his second homer of the night when he sent a towering shot to right center in the eighth settling for a leadoff triple, the second of his career.
• Corey Thompson extended his current hit streak to a career-best eight games with an RBI single up the middle in the second … The Apex, N.C. native was 2-for-4 with an RBI and recorded his ninth career multi-hit game.
• Dustin Harrington homered in his third straight game with a three-run shot to left field … Since the Sunday game against Monmouth he is 12-for-16 with four home runs, 10 RBI and 10 runs … He has recorded multiple hits and RBIs in all three games and now has 59 career multi-hit and 26 multi-RBI games.
• Kyle Roller was 2-for-3 at the dish with three runs scored and stole a career-best two bases … He pushed his career multi-game total to 59.
• ECU pounded out 14 hits on the night with their two through five hitters combining for 10 hits.
• In their last four games, the Pirates are batting .372 with 12 home runs, 10 doubles and have scored 49 runs on 55 hits … The pitching staff has allowed 17 runs in 36.0 innings with 41 strikeouts to just 11 walks and boasts a 3.50 ERA.