ECU Falls to Wolfpack in LeClair Classic

Greenville - Mike Roskopf’s pinch-hit RBI single with the bases loaded in the top of the tenth plated Ryan Pond and helped No. 24 N.C. State defeat East Carolina 5-4 in front of a record crowd of 5,523 on day two of the Fourth Annual Keith LeClair Classic inside Clark-LeClair Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Ramon Corona led off the tenth frame with a double to right field, before Pond walked and Pat Ferguson reached on a fielding error. With the bases juiced, Caleb Mangum hit a shot to Drew Schieber at third, who promptly threw home to get Corona out on a force play setting up Roskopf’s game-wining RBI.

Eryk McConnell picked up his first win of the year for the Wolfpack (10-2) after tossing 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball. He allowed two hits, two walks and fanned one batter. Starter Andrew Brackman went five innings, allowing six hits, four runs (all earned), with five walks and six strikeouts. Relievers Andrew Taylor and Kyle Rutter combined to work 2 2/3 innings, striking out one, walking three and giving up three hits.

For the Pirates (6-6), Shane Mathews suffered his second loss after working the tenth inning, surrendering one run on two hits with one strikeout. Dustin Sasser got the start, working 5 2/3 innings allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits with two punch outs. ECU relievers Brett Butts and Josh Rulhman tossed 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

ECU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning thanks to home runs by Harrison Eldridge and Brandon Henderson. Ryan Wood walked to start the frame, advanced to second on a Brackman wild pitch and then scored on Eldridge’s line shot to right-center for a 2-0 advantage. Henderson matched Eldridge’s swing with a solo shot of his own to left field pushing the lead to three.

The Wolfpack cut ECU’s lead to two, 3-1, when Matt Payne led off the top of the fifth inning with a triple to right-center, and then scored on Drew Martin’s ground out to second base.

Junior Corey Kemp’s bloop single to left field pushed the Pirate lead back to three, 4-1. Stephen Batts collected his second triple of the season on a wind-blown fly ball that went down the right field line to start the inning.

N.C. State knotted the game at four in the top of the sixth inning after Ryan Howard hit a two-out, two-run shot off of Sasser to right field. Mangum followed Howard’s homer with a single to right-center, moved to second on a Marcus Jones walk then scored on Jeremy Synan’s pinch-hit single through the left side.

ECU will continue tournament play Sunday afternoon when they host in-state foe Western Carolina at 3 p.m. in the final game of the Classic.