STATESBORO, Ga. - Ryan Wood drove in a team-best four runs, while Dustin Harrington and Brandon Henderson each had three RBI to lead No. 20 East Carolina to an 18-9 win over Le Moyne Friday afternoon on day one of the 2009 Holiday Inn Eagle Invitational at J.J. Clements Stadium. With the win, the Pirates improve to 7-1, while Le Moyne drops to 2-4.
Leadoff hitter Trent Whitehead reached base five times (4-for-5, walk) and scored three runs to lead the Pirates stellar offensive attack that produced a season-high 18 runs and 24 hits on the day. In all, eight Pirate batters recorded multiple hits on the day with 10 different players registering at least one base knock.
With the game knotted at nine in the fifth, ECU exploded for six runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a commanding 15-9 lead and never looked back. Back-to-back one-out hits by Jared Avchen (single) and Harris (double) put runners on second and third just before Whitehead grounded out to the pitcher. Wood roped one of ECU’s six doubles in the game down the left field line pushing across both runners giving the Pirates an 11-9 advantage.
Stephen Batts followed with a walk and after a Dolphin pitching change and a Kyle Roller walked loaded the bases, Henderson singled up the middle plating both Wood and Batts. Senior Drew Schieber loaded the bases with his free pass just before Harrington singled to left pushing home the final two runs of the frame. ECU batted around for the second time in an inning in the fifth and scored all six runs with two outs.
Freshman Kevin Brandt (2-0) notched his second win of the season in relief after spelling starter Seth Maness in the fifth. Brandt allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts in three innings of work and retired Le Moyne in order in the sixth and seventh innings. Maness surrendered seven runs on 11 hits with four walks in four innings. Sophomore Joe O’Malley and freshman Mike Wright each tossed an inning of shutout relief for the Pirates.
Erik Lambe (0-1) suffered the loss for Le Moyne after allowing four runs on three hits in two-thirds of work. Starter Jeff Tardif was touched for nine runs on 12 hits with three strikeouts and two walks in four innings. The Dolphins used four more pitchers after Lambe which gave up five runs in 3 1/3 frames.
Le Moyne jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to back-to-back hits to lead off the game. Matt Nandin doubled to right then Brett Botsford singled to center putting runners on second and third. The Dolphins first run of the game came on Chris Edmondson’s sac fly to left that scored Nandin from third. After Chris Haynes singled up the middle moving Botsford to third, Sean Paino drove in Botsford when he reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Pirates answered in the bottom of the frame scoring nine runs, all with two outs, to take a 9-2 lead. Batts laced the first of his two doubles down the right field line before Roller walked. Henderson pushed across Batts with a single to right, which was then followed by a Schieber single through the left side scoring Roller. Harrington extended his current hitting streak to 12 games when he drove in Roller from third on a single through the right side putting ECU up 3-2. Avchen drove in Schieber with the first of his three hits on the day with an infield single, which was immediately followed by a RBI single from Harris to right. In his second at-bat of the frame, Whitehead laced his second single of the contest to center plating Harris and Avchen. Wood closed out the first by hitting a two-run bomb to center field, the 23rd of his career, to cap the scoring for the Pirates.
Le Moyne would tie the game at nine after scoring two runs in the second and four in the fifth, just before ECU broke the game open with six runs of its own in the fifth for a 15-9 lead.
ECU would tack on three more runs with a pair in the sixth and one in the seventh to close the scoring a 18-9.
The Pirates will be back in action Saturday night when they take on Indiana on day two of the tournament. Chris Heston gets the nod for ECU, while Eric Arnett will take the mound for the Hoosiers. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET).
• Head Coach Billy Godwin recorded his 122nd win as the Pirates skipper and n umber 384 for his career.
• ECU’s 7-1 start is the best start in the Godwin era and marks the best start since the 2004 season when the Pirates started 12-0.
• In the game, ECU scored 16 of its 18 runs with two-outs. On the season the Pirates have pushed across 40 of its 82 runs with two-outs (48.9 percent).
• The Pirates are batting .400 as a team. Eight full-time players are hitting .364 or better, with three over .400 and three over .500. Sophomore Trent Whitehead is hitting at a .567 clip, which leads the team.