Five Pirates drove in two or more runs on the night highlighted by Jamie Ray's grand slam in the first inning as No. 30 East Carolina beat No. 24 UNC-Wilmington 14-7 Tuesday night at Brooks Field in non-conference action. With the win the Pirates improve to 33-13 while the Seahawks drop to 33-10-1.
Ray's second career grand slam to center sparked a 5-run first inning putting the Pirates up 5-0 early and never looked back. Harrison Eldridge led off the inning with a single to right field on the games first pitch then moved to second on Ryan Wood walk before Stephen Batts advanced both runners 90 feet on his sac bunt. Corey Kemp and Brandon Henderson drew back-to-back walks scoring Eldridge. Ray, who got down in the count 0-2, extended Haney's pitch count with a 12 pitch at-bat before taking pitch to straight away center field.
T.J. Hose improved to 4-4 on the season coming out of the bullpen working 2.2 innings allowing one run on two this with one walks. Starter Brad Mincey left the game with one out in the second inning due to a fingernail injury to his throwing hand. During his time on the mound he allowed two runs on two hits with two walks. Josh Ruhlman made his 25th appearance of the year working three innings allowing three runs on two hits with four strikeouts. Brett Butts (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K) and Seth Simmons (1.0 IP, 2 K) finished the game on the bump for the Pirates.
Jesse Haney (1-2) didn't make it out of the first inning working 0.1 of an inning giving up five runs on two hits with three walks. Kyle Lewis closed out the first inning for Haney and finished the game working 1.2 innings allowing four runs on five hits with a pair of strikeouts. Allen Flood (1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), Chris Johnson (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K), Larry Salefsky (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K), Cameron Roth (2.0 IP, 1 H, 3 K), Brett Braxton (1.0 IP) and Stephen Harrold (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K) closed out the game.
ECU pushed across a pair of runs in the second to extend its lead to 7-0. Trent Whitehead singled up the middle to start the inning then took second on Eldridge's sac bunt and third on Wood's single up the middle. Batts drove in the first run of the frame with another single up the middle plating Whitehead and moving Wood to third. Kemp followed with a sac fly to right that scored Wood, Kemp's 51st RBI of the season.
The Seahawks cut into the Pirates lead in the second, 7-2. Mark Carver led off with a walk and touched home for UNCW's first run of the game on Cody Stanley's triple down the left field line. Stanley came home when Jes Snyder reached on a fielder's choice.
Eldridge's two-run single up the middle highlighted a three-run inning that pushed the Pirates lead to 10-2. Kyle Roller drove in the first run of the inning with a single to right plating Ray, who led off the inning with a double to center. After a Seahawk pitching change, Dustin Harrington laid down a sac bunt that moved Roller to second. Whitehead, who collected his second hit of the game with a single through the right side to put runners on the corners, stole second base during Eldridge's at-bat and then came home with Roller on his single to cap the scoring.
Hargrave drove in Alex Hill from first with a double to left-center cutting into the Pirates lead, 10-3.
Harrington's double to left-center in the fourth extended ECU's lead to nine, 12-3. Kemp drew an opening frame walk then moved to second on Henderson's ground out. Roller drew another Pirate walk with two outs and came home along with Kemp on Harrington's at-bat.
ECU continued to put runs on the board adding to its lead in the fifth, 14-3. Eldridge picked up his third hit of the game with a leadoff single to left then stole second with one out. Batts followed with a walked that chases Johnson who then walked Kemp to load the bases. Henderson's single to left scored Eldridge and Batts.
Carver hit a two-run bomb to left field that scored Jason Appel to make the score 14-5 in favor of ECU.
In the eighth inning Carver drilled his second two-run home run of the game to center field to cut the lead to seven, 14-7.
The Pirates will be back in action Friday night when they play host to Conference USA foe UAB with a first pitch scheduled 7 p.m.
Harrison Eldridge was 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI. With his two runs in the game he moves into a tie for third place on the schools all-time list with 173. He extended his current hitting streak to six games with his leadoff single to right field to start the game. With his start in center, Eldridge moved into sole possession of second place on the schools all-time games played list trailing only John Williamson (238 games). He swiped three bases in the game and now has 59 for his career which ranks fifth all-time in school history. Eldridge finished the game with three hits and now has 76 career multi-hit games.
Jamie Ray tied his career-high with four RBI in a game on his second career grand slam of his career. He has 10 hits, four runs and 14 RBI in his last six games. He had two hits on the day marking the 35th time in his career with a two or more hits and he has 15 career multi-RBI games.
T.J. Hose made his first relief appearance out of the bull pen this season picking up his 20th career win.
Trent Whitehead recorded his seventh multi-hit game of the season going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Dustin Harrington picked up his eighth multi-RBI game of the season with a two-run bases clearing double in the fourth.
Brandon Henderson drove in three runs on the night for his 20th career multi-RBI game.