No. 24 Pirates Fall To Wolfpack 4-3

Eryk McConnell scattered six hits over five innings and Chris Schaeffer collected a career-high four hits as the N.C. State beat No. 24 East Carolina 4-3 Tuesday night inside Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Trailing by one with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Ryan Wood at the plate, Jimmy Gillheeney threw over to first and caught Harrison Eldridge in no-man’s land for the final out of the game, preserving the Wolfpack (16-9) victory.

McConnell improved to 3-1 on the year, allowing one run, while striking out three and walking two. Joey Cutler relieved McConnell in the sixth fanning five of the first seven Pirate batters he faced before allowing two runs on two hits. Drew Taylor (1 IP) and Gillheeney notched his seventh save of the season after walking one and striking out one in the ninth frame.

Sthil Sowers dropped to 2-2 on the season after surrendering four runs on four hits in four innings, while walking one and striking out one. Josh Ruhlman made his 14th appearance of the season in relief going 4 1/3 innings without a run on five hits with two punch outs. Seth Simmons (0.1 IP), Matt Cox (0.0) and Brad Mincey (0.1) combined to close out the ninth frame.

N.C. State jumped on the board first when they plated two runs in the third inning for a 2-0 lead. Chris Schaeffer led off the frame with a single to left, which was promptly followed by another single by Drew Martin, this time to center. Tommy Foschi loaded the bases when he drew a free pass setting up Dallas Poulk’s at-bat. Poulk grounded into a double-play scoring Schaeffer for the games first run. Ryan Pond drove in the second run with an RBI single through the left side pushing across Martin.

ECU cut the Pack lead to one, 2-1, in the fourth inning on Dustin Harrington’s fielder’s choice RBI. Kyle Roller reached on a fielder’s choice then moved to third on Brandon Henderson’s second hit of the game, a single to left-center setting up Harrington’s at-bat.

In the fifth frame, N.C. State extended its lead to 4-1 behind three hits. Schaeffer singled up the middle then moved to second when Martin was plunked by Sowers pitch. After a Pirate pitching change, Foschi laid down a sac bunt the advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Poulk drew a walk to load the bases and Pond drove in his second run of the game with a long single to left-center that appeared to be lost in the lights by Stephen Batts. Matt Payne followed with a single through the right side pushing across Martin for the Pack’s final run of the game.

Corey Kemp made the game interesting in the bottom of the eighth, pulling the Pirates within one, 4-3. Batts lead off with a single and Kemp followed immediately with a two-run shot to right field, his seventh of the season.

The Pirates will be back in action on Wednesday night when they host Campbell. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.