Ryan Wood’s RBI single in the top of the ninth that plated Brandon Henderson and gave East Carolina a 3-2 win over in-state rival UNC Wilmington Wednesday night at Brooks Field.
Henderson singled down the left field line with one out and then moved into scoring position on his fourth stolen base of the year, setting up the game-winning hit for the Pirates (22-12).
Shane Mathews picked up his league-leading ninth save after working the ninth inning where he allowed one hit. Josh Ruhlman notched his second win and improved to 2-0 after working 1 2/3 innings where he retired all five batters he faced. Freshman right-hander Mike Anderson tossed a career-best 6 1/3 innings allowing two runs on three hits with two punch-outs and one walk before giving way to Mike Flye, who faced one batter, then was replaced by Ruhlman in the seventh.
UNCW (16-20) reliever Allen Flood suffered the loss after working just two-third’s of an inning where he allowed the game-winning run on two hits. Starter Andrew Morgan worked a career-best 5 1/3 innings, struck out a career-high five batters, surrendered one run (unearned) on four hits while walking one before giving way to Jessee Haney. Haney came in with runners on the corner in the sixth and got Henderson to ground into an inning ending 1-6-3 double-play. Haney finished the game allowing one run (earned) on one hit in 2 2/3 innings with two strikeouts. Flood replaced Haney in the ninth before being replaced himself by Larry Salefsky ( 1/3 IP).
Justin Barefoot led off the bottom of the third inning with a triple off the glove of right fielder Ryan Tousley and scored the games first run on Matt Holt’s screaming grounder to Pirate shortstop Dale Mollenhauer whose errant throw allowed Holt to reach base. Anderson hunkered down and got Jason Appel to ground out into a 1-6-3 double-play to end the frame and keeping the Pirates within one, 1-0.
David Forbes doubled off Morgan in the top of the sixth and then scored on a fielding error by Holt on Harrison Eldridge’s grounder to second to knot the game at one. Mollenhauer followed Eldridge’s at-bat with a sac bunt down the first base side to advance the Pirate runner to third with one out.
UNCW took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning when pinch hitter Shane French drew a bases loaded walk off of Flye plating Steve Halford. The Seahawks got an infield single from Halford, who moved over to second when Jonathan Batts reached on an error then advanced to third on a sac bunt by Mark Carver. With one out Nate Hall loaded the bases with a walk, setting up the Flye and French showdown. Ruhlman relieved Flye after one batter to face pinch hitter Grayson Evans who grounded out in to another inning ending double-play to close out the frame.
Eldridge tied the game at two on a sac fly to right field that scored Jamie Ray, who pinch ran for Jake Dean. Dean led off the eighth inning with a pinch hit single up the middle, the fourth of the season. Ray advanced to second on a Forbes sac bunt then moved up 90 feet on a Haney wild pitch to set up the game tying run.
The Pirates will stay on the road this weekend when they travel Charleston, WVa. to take on Marshall in a three-game Conference USA series at Appalachian Power Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.