GREENVILLE, N.C. - Freshman Kevin Brandt tossed 6 1/3 innings of shutout relief to spark No. 23 East Carolina's 14-7 come from behind win over No. 11 Oklahoma State Thursday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh with one out, the Pirates (4-0) exploded for eight runs to take a 12-7 lead and never looked back. ECU strung together five consecutive hits, with six straight reaching base before the second out was recorded. Brandon Henderson singles to left-center and Kyle Roller put a shot through the right side. After a Cowboys (4-1) pitching change, the hit barrage continued when Drew Schieber singled to right loading the bases for Trent Whitehead's two-RBI single to left, drawing the Pirates within one.
Dustin Harrington followed with a RBI single through the left side after an OSU pitching change to knot the game at seven. Jared Avchen drew a walk to put runners loading the bases once again, this time for sophomore Austin Homan who reached on a fielder's choice plating Whitehead for the go-ahead run. Ryan Wood extended the frame with a single to left that scored Harrington just before Stephen Batts unloaded on a Mark Ginther 0-1 offering to right-center for a three-run shot that put ECU up five, 12-7.
Brandt, a Fuquay Varina, N.C. native, made his collegiate debut in the third frame facing one batter to close out the inning after OSU (4-1) scored four runs off starter Sthil Sowers. Brandt allowed just three hits, walked one and fanned seven retiring the side in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings for his first win of the season. Sowers, who notched his first win of the season on Sunday, Feb. 22, lasted 2 2/3 innings, gave up seven runs (all earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts.
Matt Peck suffered his first loss of the young season allowing two runs (both earned) on two hits, while facing two batters and not recording an out. Right-hander Jeff Breedlove went 4 2/3 innings surrendering four runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts before being lifted for Brett Davis in the fifth. Davis, who gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings, passed the ball off to Peck before Jared Starks (1/3 inning, 3 runs, 3 earned, 2 hits, 1 walk), Mark Ginther (1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit) and Taylor McKinney (1 inning, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 K) combined to finish the game.
The Cowboys jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second, which was highlighted by the first of two home runs by designated hitter Doug Kroll, a solo shot to right-center to lead off the inning. Back-to-back infield singles by Dean Green and Tyrone Hambly put runners at first and second before Davis Duren's sac bunt moved them up 90 feet and Dusty Harvard's single brought them home.
Whitehead got the Pirates on the board in the bottom half of the second on an RBI single up the middle that scored Schieber from second putting the score at 3-1.
A four-run third pushed the Cowboys lead to six, 7-1. Neil Medchill recorded his lone hit of the game, a single through the right side to lead off the inning just before Kroll homered for the second time in the contest, a shot down the right field line making the score 5-1. After Duren reached on a fielder's choice, Michael Dabbs' ripped a Sowers 3-1 pitch to right field for his first homer of the season, a two-run shot to cap the scoring.
ECU slowed crawled back into the contest picking up a run in the fourth and two in the fifth cutting OSU's lead to 7-4, before the eight-run seventh.
The Pirates would tack on two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when Schieber smacked his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field that landed on Charles Boulevard putting ECU up 14-7.
Due to potential inclement weather in the area this weekend, the Pirates will kickoff play in the Sixth Annual Keith LeClair Classic against St. John's at approximately 12:30 p.m. The tournament gets underway at 9 a.m. Friday morning with College of Charleston squaring off against No. 11 Oklahoma State. Forty minutes after game one, ECU will play St. John's and then No. 11 OSU, 40 minutes after game two ends. St. John's and the College of Charleston will wrap-up the first day's action at approximately 7:30 p.m.