Junior shortstop Dale Mollenhauer went 4-fo-5 with a double and scored three runs, including the game winner Wednesday night as the No. 19 East Carolina Pirates erased an eight-run deficit to pick up its 14th consecutive win and defeat the UNC Wilmington Seahawks 11-10 in ten innings at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the scored knotted at ten in the tenth inning, Mollenhauer lead off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a Stephen Batts grounder to short. After Ryan Tousley was intentionally walked, Mollenhauer took off on the first pitch offering to Corey Kemp, stealing third base and then crossing home for the game-winning run on catcher Mark Carver’s throwing error.
Shane Mathews collected his second win of the season improving to 2-2 for the Pirates (20-6) after fanning three batters in 2 2/3 innings. Pirate starter Bailey Daniels didn’t make it out of the first inning, surrendering five runs on six hits and lasting just two-third’s of an inning. ECU used five hurlers in between Daniels and Mathews with Mike Flye (2.1 IP, two hits, three strikeouts) and Brett Butts (2.1 IP, one strikeout and one hit) leading the way.
Larry Salefsky (0-2) got the loss after pitching two innings of relief work, where he allowed one run on two hits with one punch-out. Freshman starter Seth Frankoff lasted 2 2/3 innings gave up three runs on six hits before giving way to Cody Dickens in the third inning. Dickens also went 2 2.3 innings but allowed six runs on three hits.
After a 45 minute rain delay, the Seahawks (12-16) jumped out to a 5-0 lead on the Pirates in the first inning. Matt Holt led off with a single up the middle, the first of five hits in the frame. With one-out, Steve Halford doubled to left advancing Holt to third. Holt would trot home on Jonathan Batts’ single to left, before Mark Carver singled home Halford putting the game at 2-0.
UNCW continued to score in the first when Bobby Leeper singled through the right side plating Batts. Nate Hall hit a high hard double to left field with two-outs scoring Leeper and Carver extending the lead to 5-0.
In the second inning, the Seahawks put three more runs up on the board padding their lead to 8-0. Holt once again led off the inning with a single, this time to right field. Jason Appel moved Holt over to second with an infield single, before Holt went to third on a 3-6-3 double play. Batts doubled to center scoring Holt, just before Carver followed with another double pushing the lead to 7-0. Leeper cleared the bases with a triple center ending the frame at 8-0.
ECU finally got on the board in the bottom of the second when Brandon Henderson singled up the middle scoring Kemp, who led off with a double down the left field line.
The Pirates continued to chip away at the Seahawks lead pushing across two more runs in the third to close the gap at 8-3. Harrison Eldridge started the frame with a free pass, and then moved to third on Mollenhauer’s second hit of the night, a double down the left field line. Eldridge then scored on Batts’ sac fly to right before Tousley drove in the second run on a groundout to second.
For the third consecutive inning, ECU cut into the lead scoring a pair of runs and closing the gap to 8-5. Broc Sutton was hit by a Dickens pitch, which was followed by a Ryan Wood walk. Sutton advanced to third on a wild pitch before Mollenhauer walked to load the bases. The Pirates plated their first run when Batts walked, then added another when Tousley flew out to left field.
UNCW led off the fifth frame with back-to-back home runs off Jeff Ostrander by Grayson Evans and Nate Hall, extending its lead to 10-5.
With two quick swings of the bat, the Pirates drew within one run, 10-9, in the bottom of the sixth inning. Eldridge was beamed by a Dickens pitch, and then Mollenhauer singled through the left side before Batts unloaded on a 1-0 pitch to dead center field, cutting the lead to 10-8. Two pitches later, Tousley sent a solo shot to left-center cutting the lead to one.
Wood tied the game at ten in the seventh inning when he hit his first home run of the season and first in 115 at-bats to left field off of Allen Flood.
Offensively, the Pirates had four hitter with multiple hits. Mollenhauer led the way with four, while Tousley, Kemp and Henderson each added two. Three Bucs tattooed home runs on the night (Batts, Tousley and Wood).
The Pirates will hit the road for the first time since mid-Feburary when they travel to New Orleans to take on No. 29 Tulane in a three-game Conference USA match starting Friday night at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).