GREENVILLE, N.C. - Junior Chris Heston scattered two hits over seven innings and struck out nine batters in his Pirate debut helping No. 27 East Carolina to a 5-1 win over Monmouth Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2004 season when they opened the year 12-0, while Monmouth falls to 0-2.
After surrendering a leadoff single to Brett Holland, Heston found his rhythm quickly and retired the next 11 batters he faced until Nick Pulsonetti singled to left field to start the fifth frame. The Palm Bay, Fla. native faced 23 batters on the day and did not allow a walk before turning the game over to sophomore Brad Mincey, who worked a scoreless eighth giving up one walk. Fellow classmate Seth Simmons shutdown the Hawks in the ninth fanning two batters and walking one in his first outing on the mound for the Pirates.
Ryan Buch suffered the loss for Monmouth giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Nick McNamara tossed three innings of scoreless relief before being lifted by Jonathan Shippee in the seventh. Shippee lasted two-thirds of an inning giving up one run on two hits before Steve Sanguiliano pitched the final 1 1/3 innings.
The Pirates jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second thanks to Drew Schieber’s first home run since March 21 of 2008. Kyle Roller drew a one-out walk then touched home on Schieber’s shot to right field give ECU a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Trent Whitehead followed Schieber’s at-bat with a walk of his own and then came around to score Jared Avchen’s double down the left field line.
Brandon Henderson pushed the Pirates lead to 4-0 in the third with an RBI single to left that plated Stephen Batts, who reached base on a throwing error. After taking second on Sanguiliano’s error, Batts swiped his second base of the season taking third before crossing home.
Monmouth pulled within three, 4-1, in the fifth on Bobby Dombrowski’s RBI ground out to second that scored Pulsonetti.
Kyle Roller capped off the scoring in the seventh driving in his sixth run of the series with a single up the middle that scored Batts for a 5-1 lead.
The Pirates and Hawks will play the final game of the three-game series Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. (ET) first pitch scheduled. Sophomore Mike Anderson gets the nod for ECU and will make his first appearance since May 15, 2007.
• Attendance: 3,313
• With the win, ECU improves to 2-0 for the first time since the 2004 season when they started 12-0.
• Head Coach Billy Godwin picked up his 117th win as the Pirates skipper and 379th of his career.
• ECU improves to 10-1 all-time against Monmouth.
• In two games, the Pirates starting pitchers have combined to toss 14.0 innings of shutout ball with 15 strikeouts, no walks and allowed just seven hits. The Pirates bullpen has not surrendered a run in four innings of work allowing just one hit.
• Dustin Harrington, Brandon Henderson and Kyle Roller each extended their current hitting streaks to six games on the afternoon.
• Roller has driven in six runs on the season and is slugging a team-best 1.143,
• Jared Avchen led the team with three hits (3-for-4) with one RBI.
• Brandon Henderson recorded his 44th career multi-hit game after going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
• Dustin Harrington picked up his second two-hit game of the year (2-for-4) and has 25 for his career.
• Drew Schieber hit his ninth career home run in the third inning, a two-run shot to right field, for his 10th career multi-RBI game.