NEW ORLEANS, La. - Senior T.J. Hose pitched 4.1 innings of hitless ball in a relief appearance to spark No. 28 East Carolina (40-18) to a 4-3 win over No.5 and top-seeded Rice (42-13) in the 2008 Entergy Conference USA elimination game at Greer Field inside Turchin Stadium.
Hose (6-4), who made his third relief appearance of the season, walked four batters and fanned five after taking the ball from starter Justin Bristow. Bristow worked 4.0 innings allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Senior Josh Ruhlman made his 34th appearance of the season, recording his second save after retiring the final two batters of the game.
Ryan Berry worked 5.1 innings allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts falling to 7-4. Cole St. Clair made his 20th appearance of the season in the fifth frame going 1.2 innings allowing two hits and fanning one batter. Bobby Bell entered the game in the bottom of the eighth after a 58 min lightning and rain delay to work a scoreless frame.
Trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning, ECU scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Senior Corey Kemp blasted his 16th home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center, to leadoff the inning and set the tone for the frame. Stephen Batts collected his second hit of the game following Kemp's at-bat with a single up the middle then took second on Ryan Wood's sac bunt. Dustin Harrington followed with a single that plated Batts. Kyle Roller picked up his second hit of the game with a single up the middle that put runners on the corners. Harrison Eldridge singled through the left side scoring Harrington and putting ECU ahead.
Adam Zornes put Rice up 2-0 in the second inning thanks to a two-run home run to left-center. Aaron Luna drew an opening frame walk then touched home on Zornes 11th homer of the season.
Rice added a run in the third pushing its lead to 3-0. Doug Simmons drew the third leadoff walk of the game then took third when Jared Gayhart singled through the right side. Gayhart scored when J. P. Padron grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Roller smacked his 11th home run of the season, second of the tournament, in the fifth inning pulling the Pirates within two, 3-2, on a 1-0 pitch to dead center field.
The Pirates season will continue on Friday at 4 p.m. (ET) when they play the loser of the Houston/UAB game.
Kyle Roller has hit home runs in back-to-back games of the C-USA Tournament with his solo shot in the fifth. He now has 22 career home runs and 77 career RBI. Roller finished the game going 2-for-4 for his 16th multi-hit game of the season and second of the C-USA Tournament.
Jamie Ray extended his current hitting streak to seven games after going 1-for-3.
Stephen Batts picked up two hits on the morning recording his 23rd multi-hit game of the season.
T.J. Hose made his 19th career appearance out of the bullpen and at one point retired eight consecutive batters after hitting Aaron Luna in the fifth and then walking Luna in the eighth before the 50 minute rain delay.
ECU picked up its second ever win against Rice. The last was on March 24, 2006 when the Pirates took the first ever meeting between the two teams in C-USA play.
The win was also was the seventh win against a top-5 team.
With the loss, Rice has been eliminated from its first C-USA Tournament and was two and done for the first time in a conference tournament since 1995.