GREENVILLE, N.C. - Senior Harrison Eldridge collected four hits, smacked his second home run of the season and swiped four bases en route to East Carolina’s 10-4 win over VCU. With the win the Pirates improve to 9-4 on the year while VCU falls to 2-10.
Eldridge single handedly sparked the Pirates to their eighth consecutive win by driving in four runs, scoring three and going 4-for-5 from the dish.
Sthil Sowers picked up his first collegiate win and improved to 1-1 on the season after working 5 1/3 innings, where he allowed three runs on three this with four strikeouts. Daniel Holder made his fifth appearance out of the pen finishing the sixth frame where he gave up one hit. Freshman Seth Simmons worked 1 1/3 innings allowing one run (earned) with three strikeouts, while Josh Ruhlman (2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 Ks) and Bailey Daniels (1 IP and 1 K) helped secure the win.
Phillip Deane dropped to 0-2 on the young season going 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Jesse Reid relieved Deane in the fourth inning going 3 2/3 frames allowing two runs on two hits with one strikeout. Michael Graham (2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and Robbie Andrews (1/3 IP, 1 BB) closed out the game for the Rams.
ECU took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Stephen Batts’ sac fly to right field that scored Eldridge from first. Eldridge lead off with a single through the right side, then stole second and third base setting up Batts at-bat.
The Pirates extended their lead to 3-0 in the second inning. Corey Kemp drew a lead off walk then moved to second on Dustin Harrington’s single through the right side. Trent Whitehead pushed Kemp to third on a fielder’s choice and back-to-back singles by Jamie Ray and Eldridge plated Kemp and Whitehead.
VCU cut into the Pirates lead scoring two runs in the third. Joe Van Meter doubled to right-center with one out just before Kwan Evans was hit by pitch. Richard Gonzalez singled to center scoring Van Meter. Jared Bolden followed with an infield groundout that scored Evans putting the score at 3-2.
Eldridge ignited a three-run fourth inning with his three-run shot. Whitehead started the inning after he was plunked by a Deane fastball, then promptly stole second base to get into scoring position. Ray singled through the left side putting runners on the corner with one out setting up Eldridge’s blast to right.
ECU added two more runs in the seventh pushing its lead to 8-3. Batts touched home on a Reid wild pitch and Henderson came on Austin Homan’s sac fly to center field.
Michael Cheatham drove in the Rams fourth run of the game in the eighth drawing the score to 8-4 in favor of the Pirates. Bolden walked to start the frame, stole second, and came home on Cheatham’s single to right-center.
Batts extended the Pirates lead to 10-4 in the eighth with a double to right-center that scored Eldridge and Wood. Eldridge reached on an infield single then swiped his fourth base of the afternoon taking second. Wood drew a two-out walk before coming home on Batts at-bat.
ECU will be back in action on Thursday, March 13 when they host Quinnipiac with a 7 p.m. first pitch scheduled.
· Ryan Wood extended his current hitting streak to 11 games with his single to left in the fourth. The Woodbridge, Va. native was 1-for-4 on the afternoon with one run scored.
· Harrison Eldridge swiped four bases, one shy of tying the single-game school record, while tying his career-high (15) which he set last season. He picked up four hits on the day and in three games against teams from the state of Virginia he is 9-for-15 with two home runs, 11 RBI and eight runs scored.
· Jamie Ray and Brandon Henderson each collected two hits on the day.
· Austin Homan drove in his third run of the season on a sac fly in the seventh.
· ECU’s pitchers fanned 10 Rams and walked just three.
· The Pirates have collected at least 10 or more hits in 9-of-13 games played this season.