Senior Ryan Tousley picked up his first career four-hit game, which included game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth and a game-winning single in the seventh to help East Carolina knock off nationally-ranked (12) Pepperdine 5-4 in the Fourth Annual Keith LeClair Classic.
Trailing 4-2 in the fifth frame, junior Dale Molloenhauer laced a one-out single to right field before Tousley turned on a Barry Enright (4-1) fastball to knot the game at four.
ECU (6-5) starter T.J. Hose tossed a season-high 7 2/3 innings on 94 pitches to pick up his second straight win and even his record to 2-2 on the year. He allowed four runs on six hits, with one walk and tied his season-best with seven strikeouts. Senior Jason Neitz pitched to Eric Thames in the top of the eighth, getting the sophomore designated hitter to fly out to left field.
Pirate reliever Shane Mathews collected his third save of the season nearly working a perfect ninth striking out two and walking just one.
For the Waves (11-4) Enright suffered his first loss of the season after working 6 1/3 innings, allowing a season-high seven hit, five runs (four earned). He also fanned three Pirate batters while walking two. Jordan Durrance faced three batters in the seventh frame before giving way to Daniel Farris to pitch the final inning and a third, where he walked and struck out one.
ECU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Stephen Batts' drove in Harrison Eldridge with his sac fly to left. Eldridge led off the inning with a double down the right field line and moved over on Mollenhauer's sacrifice bunt. With two outs, the Pirates squandered an opportunity to put more runs on the board Tousley singled to left and went to third on a Brandon Henderson shot up the middle before Corey Kemp's fielder's choice ended the inning.
Pepperdine answered in the top of the second inning with four runs to take a 4-1 advantage. Luke Salas drew a one-out walk then scored on Ryan Heroy's double to left center, which was followed by an infield single by Denny Duron. Travis Tartmella tripled to right-center scoring Heroy and Duron to push the Waves lead to 3-1. Tartamella scored the final run of the inning an Adrian Ortiz sac fly to center field.
The Pirates plated one run in the bottom of the third to close the gap two, 4-2. Eldridge, reached base for the second time with a walk to start the inning, then moved over to second on Tousley's two-out single to left, which was followed by Henderson's infield single to load the bases. Eldridge scored his second run of the night on an Enright passed ball before Kemp flew out to center to close the frame.
Tousley once again came through in the clutch for the Pirates with an RBI single down the first base line that scored Broc Sutton from third putting the score at 5-4.
The Pirates will resume action Saturday afternoon when they play host to No. 24 N.C. State in the second game of the day, following Western Carolina and Pepperdine (11 a.m.). First pitch for the Pirates is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The win over No. 12 Pepperdine is their first win over a top-25 team since they defeated in-state rival N.C. State 2-1 last year (April 12) in Greenville in 13 innings.
Since 1998, the Pirates are 4-1 when facing teams that are ranked No. 12 nationally.
Ryan Tousley posted his first career four-hit game going 4-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored. It was his 14th multi-hit game and 10th multi-RBI contest of his career.
Brandon Henderson went 2-for-3 with one walk and picked up his 13th career multi-hit game.
Shane Mathews picked up his third save of the season, the most of any Pirate pitcher since the 2004 season when current teammate Mike Flye saved five.