Brad Mincey worked 7 1/3 innings of relief and picked up his first collegiate win as East Carolina defeated VCU 7-4 Wednesday afternoon at The Diamond.
The freshman righty retired 12 consecutive batters at one time and finished by allowing just two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Pirate starter Matt Cox lasted just 2/3 of an inning allowing four runs (all earned) on three hits and two walks before be relieved by Zach Cooper. Cooper worked one inning in his collegiate debut, walking three and fanning two.
Brett Walker suffered the loss in his first start of the season going four frames, allowing five runs (two earned), three walks and one strikeout. Robbie Andrews relieved Walker in the fifth going three innings of his own allowing two runs on two hits with one walk. Aaron Morgan closed out the game for the Rams working the final two frames with two strikeouts.
ECU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Stephen Batts' saf fly to right field. Harrison Eldridge drew an opening frame walk then moved to third on Brett Walker's failed pickoff attempt before trotting home on Batts' long fly ball.
VCU answered the Pirates run with four in the bottom of the frame to take a 4-1 lead. Richard Gonzalez, who stood on first with two outs, moved to second on Jared Bolden's walk the came home on Chris Jackson's RBI single to left field. After a failed pick off by Corey Kemp that sent Bolden to third, Bolden scored on Michael Cheatham's double down the left field line that also scored Jackson. Joe Van Meter followed with an infield single advancing Cheatham to third just before Nate Furry's single to left that scored Cheatham and the Rams final run of the inning.
The Pirates took a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning behind three hits and one error. Trent Whitehead recorded his first collegiate hit, a single down the left field line to start the frame. Whitehead went to second when Eldridge was plunked by a Walker pitch on the knee putting runners at first and second. Wood followed with a single to right that platted Whitehead and moved Eldridge to second. Batts reached on a fielder's choice that scored Eldridge. Kyle Roller drove in his first run of the game with a single to right that scored Wood just before a Ram pitching change. Andrews got Brandon Henderson to fly out to right field, but Batts was able to tag up and move to third base. Kemp capped the scoring with his sac fly to center field that scored Batts.
Eldridge highlighted a two-run sixth that saw ECU increase its lead to 7-4 when he tripled to center field that scored Dustin Harrington from second. Harrington reached on a fielders choice and moved to second on Whitehead's ground out to third.
ECU will head home for the start of a 13-game home stretch which starts with the Fifth Annual Keith LeClair Classic this weekend when the Pirates take on Pittsburgh at 5 p.m.