Jamie Ray could not pick a better time to hit his first home run of the season Tuesday night as his three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth helped No. 28 East Carolina to a 4-2 win over Old Dominion at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The senior from Csar, N.C. was used as a pinch hitter for Kyle Roller with runners on second and third and took a 1-1 offering from Kyle Hald to left field giving the Pirates (22-9) a 3-2 lead. For Ray, it was his first homer since his grand slam against Houston on May 5, 2007.
In the sixth, Stephen Batts drew a one-out walk and then advanced to third when Corey Kemp ripped a double down the right field line setting up Ray’s at-bat.
Sthil Sowers picked up his third win of the season after working a career-high 6.1 innings where he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Freshman Seth Simmons made his 14th appearance of the year out of the bullpen finishing the seventh frame by forcing a pair of ground outs. Josh Ruhlman pitched 1.2 innings of relief with three walks and one punch out and freshman Brad Mincey picked up his first collegiate save by fanning the only batter he faced in the ninth.
Hald dropped to 3-1 on the season for the Monarchs (15-15) after surrendering two runs on three hits and one strikeout. Starter Ryan Bergh went 5.1 innings allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits with five walks. Anthony Shaw pitched the final 1.1 innings posting two strikeouts, two walks and giving up one hit.
ODU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when Chris Keenan drove in Jake McAloose on his ground out to short. McAloose started the frame with a ground-rule double to right-center then moved third on an error by Ryan Wood.
Bryan Cipolla put the Monarchs up 2-0 in the third with a single to center. Max Most drew a one out walk then moved into scoring position with his ninth stolen base of the season before taking home on Cipolla’s at-bat.
Kemp added an insurance run in the seventh pushing the Pirates lead to 4-2 when he drew a bases loaded walk that plated Trent Whitehead. Whitehead extended his current hitting streak to six games when he led off the frame with and infield single before moving to second on Bobby Fowlers sac bunt. Harrison Eldridge followed with a bunt single to third loading the bases for Kemp.
The Pirates will hit the road for a midweek contest against Elon on Wednesday night with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
· Ryan Wood extended his current hit streak to 10 games in the first inning with a single through the right side.
· Jamie Ray smacked his fourth career home run in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter. It was Ray’s first home run since May 5, 2007 at Houston when he connected on a Chris Wright pitch that resulted in a grand slam.
· Corey Kemp doubled in the sixth inning and extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games.
· ECU collected seven total hits, all by different players.
· Brad Mincey picked up the Pirates second save of the season working 1/3 of an inning.