East Carolina sophomore Stephen Batts collected a pair of hits, scored and drove in a run, and senior Jason Neitz fanned 4-of-7 batters he faced as the Pirates picked up a midweek win against in-state foe N.C. A&T, 7-4 inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Neitz, who improved to 2-0 on the year, came in to relieve starter Bailey Daniles in the top of the fifth with two outs and the bases loaded. The crafty lefty struck out Joe McIntyre on four pitches, getting the Pirates (8-6) out of the jam.
Daniels worked 4 2/3 innings allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Brett Butts and Josh Ruhlman combined to for one shutout inning before giving way to Mike Flye, who faced four batters, gave up three run on three hits. Closer Shane Mathews notched his fourth save of the year after working a scoreless ninth inning.
For the Aggies (2-8), John Primis dropped to 0-2 on the season after working 7 1/3 innings. He allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits, while walking four and striking out three on 117 pitches.
The Pirates pushed three runs through in the bottom of the third to take an early 3-0 lead. Corey Kemp started off the inning when he reached base on a throwing error by Nick Mayo, which advanced Kemp to second. After David Forbes followed Kemp with a walk, Ryan Wood reached on another Aggie throwing error, which scored Kemp from second, Harrison Eldridge played Forbes from third on a ground out to second base. The Pirates scored their final run of the inning when Dale Mollenhauer singled up the middle scoring Wood.
N.C. A&T scored its run in the top of fifth inning when Mayo doubled to left-center that scored Neil Rosser to put the game at 3-1. Rosser reached first after being struck by a Bailey fastball. Lester Rivenbark singled to third base moving Rosser to third setting up the run.
ECU added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning extending the lead to 4-1. Henderson singled up the middle, stole second base and crossed the plate on Stephen Batts single to left field.
Ryan Tousley, Kyle Roller and Kemp each collected hits in the bottom of the eighth inning that scored runs to push ECU’s lead to 7-1. Mollenhauer walked to lead off the frame, stole second and scored on Tousley’s single to center. After Tousley got caught stealing third, Batts singled to left, stole second and scored on Roller’s double to right field. Kemp capped off the scoring with a single to left that plated Roller.
The Aggies plated three runs in the top of the ninth inning pulling within three, 7-4, before Mathews came in to close the game.
ECU will continue its home stand this weekend when they host No. 6 Cal State Fullerton in a three game series. First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 5 p.m. when T.J. Hose and Wes Roemer take the mound.