GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jared Avchen and Trent Whitehead each had three hits and Brad Mincey tossed four innings of shutout relief to spark No. 20 East Carolina to an 8-3 win over former Colonial Athletic Association foe Old Dominion Wednesday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates (6-1) scored three runs to take a 5-3 lead and never looked back. Sophomore Dustin Harrington, who extended his current hitting streak to 11 games, notched his lone hit with one-out in the frame lacing a double to center-field to start the Pirate rally. Avchen followed Harrington’s at-bat with a walk just before Austin Homan’s pinch-hit bloop single to left that scored Harrington. Whitehead drove in the second run of the inning with a single to right plating Avchen. After Trent Ashcraft entered the contest as a pinch runner for Homan, Ryan Wood singled to right-center scoring Ashcraft from second.
Mincey improved to 2-0 on the season after scattering three hits over four innings, walking one and striking out four. ECU starter Mike Anderson gave up three runs (all earned) in four frames with four punch outs and three walks. Sophomore closer Seth Simmons walked two and struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the Pirates win.
Kyle Hald, who held ECU to a pair of runs on six hits through five innings, suffered the loss and dropped to 0-2. He gave up four runs (all earned) on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3. In all, the Monarchs (3-5) used six pitchers trying to stop the Pirates high-octane offense. Brett Harris (2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R), Austin Wright (2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB), Matt Walls (1/3 IP), Gerard Hall (2/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB) and Phil McCarthy (1/3 IP) made appearances on the mound.
With the game scoreless through three, ODU took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth thanks to four hits. Joe Velleggia led off with a single to left then was replaced by Brandon Shelton as he came up lame after rounding first base. Donnie Corsner followed with a double to right-center putting runners on second and third with no outs. Cameron Scott plated the first run on a sac fly to center before John Malbon doubled to left-center putting the Monarchs up 2-0. Second-basemen Josh Wright’s infield single pushed across the final run of the inning and game for ODU.
ECU answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth making the score 3-1. Kyle Roller extended his current hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff double to right-center. After a strikeout and ground out, Avchen laced a single up the middle, his second hit of the game, scoring Roller.
Brandon Henderson drew the Pirates within one, 3-2, with a two-out double down the left field line that scored Stephen Batts from first, who reached on a two-out walk.
The Pirates would plate three more runs in the eighth extending its lead to five, 8-3. Whitehead singled up the middle for his third base knock of the game, then touched home when Wood laid down a sac bunt that was misplayed by ODU third baseman Jake McAloose after he sailed a throw to right field, which landed Wood on third. Batts’ drove in his eighth run of the season with a double to center, scoring Wood, just before he swiped his team-leading fourth base. Henderson followed with a walk and Roller pushed across the game’s final run on his ground-out to second.
The Pirates will hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Statesboro, Ga. for the Holiday Inn Eagle Invitational, which will be played at J.J. Clements Stadium. ECU will square off against LeMoyne on March 6 at 3 p.m., which will be followed by a Saturday evening game against Indiana (6 p.m.) and then will close out the tournament against host institution Georgia Southern at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
• Attendance: 2,527
• ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin moved into sole possession of sixth place on the school’s all-time wins list (121) passing Randy Mazey. He now has a career record of 383-156 in 10 years of coaching.
• ECU reached double-digits in hits for the seventh consecutive game this season with its 13-hit performance on the afternoon. The Pirates have not been out-hit this season by an opponent and are averaging 13.9 hits per contest.
• Several Pirates extended their current hitting streaks on the day: Dustin Harrington (11 games), Brandon Henderson (11), Kyle Roller (11), Stephen Batts (9), Ryan Wood (5), Trent Whitehead (4) and Jared Avchen (3). Drew Schieber had his nine-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-4 at the plate.
• Ryan Wood collected his 60th career multi-hit game, while Whitehead recorded his 11th and Avchen his second.
• The Pirates pushed across run in the fourth and fifth frames with two outs on the day. Twenty-three of ECU’s 64 runs have come with two-outs.
• Mike Anderson tied his career-high with four strikeouts. In two starts he has allowed five runs on 11 hits with eight strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings.
• Ryan Wood moved into a tie for seventh on ECU’s all-time walks list with his free pass in third inning. For his career he has 108 free passes and trails all-time leader John Williamson by 21.
• ECU’s first five hitters combined for eight hits and drove in five runs on the day.