GREENVILLE, N.C. - Shane Mathews struck out seven of the 11 batters he faced in 2 2/3 innings and picked up his first win of the season as No. 25 East Carolina completed the doubleheader sweep of Michigan 3-2 in 12 innings Saturday inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the game knotted at two in the bottom of the 12th, Brandon Henderson singled to right-center scoring Dale Mollenhauer for the Pirates (15-6) ninth consecutive win. Mollenhauer led off the inning with bunt single to first and advanced into scoring position when Stephen Batts drew a free pass off of Mike Wilson, setting up the game-winning at-bat for Henderson.
ECU starter Dustin Sasser worked four innings, allowed two runs on seven hits and fanned six before giving way to Josh Dowdy, who tossed two innings of shutout ball with two strikeouts. Brett Butts worked a scoreless seventh before Jason Neitz relieved him for 2 1/3 innings of no-hit relief.
Wilson suffered the loss for the Wolverines (6-6) pitching 1/3 of an inning and allowing Henderson’s single. Starter Andrew Hess went six innings, scattering four hits, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out six. Chris Fetter relieved Hess for 5 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits and one run.
Jason Christian scored the games first run in the top of the first to put Michigan up 1-0. After leading off the game with a bunt single, Christian stole second base, moved to third on Brad Roblin’s bunt single and scored on Zach Putnam’s single to left.
The Pirates tied the game at one in the bottom of the first frame when Mollenhauer scored on a Ryan Tousley ground out to second. Harrison Eldridge singled to right on a 1-2 pitch, then moved to second on a Mollenhauer single to right field, just before being forced out on Batts’ fielder’s choice leading up to Tousley’s at-bat.
Michigan took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning on Nate Recknagel’s singe to right that scored Eric Rose. Rose lead off the inning on a free pass by Sasser just before Christian picked up his second hit of the day to center. Roblin placed a ball deep in the hole at short loaded the bases for Recknagel. With no outs and the bases juiced, Dowdy came in to relieve Sasser, striking out Putnam and Adam Abraham before getting Doug Pickens to fly out to center to end the inning.
The Wolverines threatened in the top of the sixth when Kevin Cislo roped a triple to right-center to start the inning. With one out, Cislo was caught stealing for the second out right before Rose grounded out to short to end the frame.
In the fourth longest game in school history, the Pirates pitching staff struck out 19 Michigan batters, just one shy of the school record.
ECU will hit the field again on Wednesday, March 21 when they host High Point with a 7 p.m. first pitch scheduled.