GREENVILLE, N.C. -Junior Zach Woods fanned a career-best 15 and Zach Wright smacked his third grand slam in the last five games helping No. 23 East Carolina to an 8-0 shutout over in-state rival Elon Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates extend their current win streak to eight games and improve to 17-8, while the Phoenix fell to 15-10.
The Pirates starting battery was dominate from the outset with Woods (4-1) striking out seven of the first nine batters he faced, including the side in the first inning after allowing a leadoff single to Justin Hilt. Woods, who became just the second ECU hurler in the last 40 years to punch out 15 in a game, faced two over the minimum after the giving up the base knock to start the game until he ran into trouble in the eighth, which included 10 in a row from the fourth to the seventh when he issued a two-out walk to Neal Pritchard. In all, the Virginia Beach, Va. native worked 7 2/3 innings surrendering three hits and one walk, while facing 29 batters.
Freshman Jake Harris worked the final 1 2/3 innings to preserve the shutout recording a strikeout and walk in his sixth appearance of the year.
Wright led the Pirate offense with two hits and four RBI on his way to setting a school record for grand slams in a season. Over the last five games he is batting .360 (9-for-25) with a team-best four home runs and 16 RBI. Kyle Roller (9 games), Dustin Harrington (7) and Philip Clark (6/career-best) extended their hit streaks while Corey Thompson's 11-game streak came to an end with a 0-for-2 performance that included three walks.
Elon's Dylan Clark (0-2) was saddled with the loss after being roughed up in three innings where he gave up five runs (all earned) on three hits and four walks. The Phoenix bullpen used five pitchers to work the final five innings allowing a combined three runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Wright got things going for the Pirates in the second inning with a leadoff double down the left field line before moving home on John Wooten's ground out and crossing home on Cam Freeman's ground out, which put ECU up 1-0.
The Pirates broke the game open in the third thanks to Wright's team leading ninth home that cleared the bases and pushing the lead to 5-0. With two outs in the frame, Dylan Clark walked the bases loaded issuing consecutive free passes to Kyle Roller, Corey Thompson and Devin Harris before Wright took his first pitch offering into the night sky.
Dustin Harrington's RBI single in the fourth gave ECU a 6-0 lead before the Pirates scored twice more in the fifth on Philip Clark's fielder's choice and a passed ball.
The Pirates will be back in action Wednesday night when they host in-state rival and former Colonial Athletic Association foe UNC Wilmington. ECU freshman Joseph Hughes will take the mound, while UNCW will counter with Daniel Cropper. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EDT).
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