Bailey Daniels struck out a career-high nine batters while Dale Mollenhauer picked up two hits, drove in two and scored three times to help the No. 25 East Carolina Pirates defeat Radford 8-5 Tuesday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates, who improved to 12-6, used a five-run fifth inning to pickup its tenth win in its last 11 games. With the score knotted at one, Ryan Wood drew an opening frame walk to start the fifth. He stole second base, moving into scoring position and scored on Drew Schieber’s double to left field. Harrison Eldridge followed with a single just before Mollenhauer doubled to right brining in Schieber and Eldridge for a 4-1 advantage. Ryan Tousley laced a single to right scoring Mollenhauer before Corey Kemp’s sacrifice fly to center plated Stephen Batts pushing the Pirate lead to 6-1.
Daniels picked up the win and improved to 1-1 after working 5 2/3 innings. He faced 24 batters, allowed four hits, three runs (all earned) and walked a pair to go with his nine punch outs. Mike Flye pitched two innings of relief giving up three hits, two runs (earned) with one strikeout. Junior closer Shane Mathews collected his sixth save on the year after working a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Kyle Starr dropped to 1-1 on the season after allowing five runs on five hits in four innings. T.J. Woody worked two innings surrendering a run on two hits before Josh Hammonds pitched the final two frames, where he gave up two runs on two hits.
Offensively seven Pirate hitters notched hits, with Mollenhauer and Schieber each getting two. Mollenhauer and Tousley each drove in two runs, while Mollenhauer and Eldridge combined to score five of the eight Pirate runs.
Radford (6-9) cut into ECU’s lead in the top of the sixth when they scored a pair of runs, making the game 6-3. With two outs, Nate Toth was hit by a Daniels pitch, which was followed by a Jonathan Spears walk. After a Pirate pitching change, that saw senior Mike Flye relieve Daniels, Alex Gregory doubled to center field scoring both Toth and Spears.
The Pirates cushioned its lead to five, 8-3, in the seventh behind Batts’ RBI single to center that scored Eldridge and Tousley’s sac fly to center sending Mollenhauer home.
In the top of the eighth Radford made a charge drawing within three, 8-5. Raphael Turner led off the inning with a single and scored on a Tousley throwing error which came on Toth’s double to right. After a Pirate pitching change and a Highlanders hitting change, Rocky Weiss smoked a double to left field scoring Toth for the games final run.
ECU and Radford will finish the two-game midweek series Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. (EDT). Freshman Mike Anderson will get his first start for the Pirates, while the Highlanders will throw JB Blixt.