Stephen Batts went 3-for-5 with three RBI, three runs scored and home run to help East Carolina to a 14-5 win over Savannah State and extend the Pirates current winning streak to seven games Sunday afternoon in non-conference action at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Dustin Sasser (5-2) tied his career-high in strikeouts with seven in 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs on ten hits with three walks before giving way to Chris Powell. Powell worked one inning of relief surrendering one run on three hits. Sophomore Bailey Daniels relieved Powell in the seventh with a runner on first and got out of the jam with an inning ending double-play. Josh Rulman (2/3 IP, two strikeouts), Cody Leggett (1/3 IP) and Shane Mathews (1.0 IP, one strikeout) saw action in relief.
Suffering the loss on the mound for Savannah State (26-20) was John Keene who fell to 4-2 on the year. Keene pitched seven innings, allowed 12 runs (six earned) on 14 hits and threw 146 pitches on the afternoon. Timothy Waine did mop up duty in the eighth giving up two runs on two hits with two walks.
ECU (28-12) struck gold early in the first inning on Ryan Tousley’s tenth home run of the year, a three-run shot, putting the Pirates up 3-0. Dale Mollenhauer roped a one-out double down the right field line then advanced 90 feet when Batts reached on a fielding error by second baseman Timothy Waine. Tousley cleared the bases when he took a first pitch offering from Keene to right field that hit the Taco Bell sign.
The Pirates extended their lead to five, 5-0, in the third by playing small ball. Kyle Roller, who tripled in his first at-bat of the game, drew his eighth walk of the series to lead off the frame. Roller advanced to second on a passed ball then moved to third on Ryan Wood’s second infield single of the day. Kemp popped out to second and Roller crossed home on a Waine throwing error. Jake Dean, who got his first start of the year in the field at third, laid down a well executed suicide squeeze that plated Wood to cap the scoring.
Savannah State scored two runs in the top of the fourth to close the gap to 5-2. Alfred Arnold led off with a walk, advanced to third on an Antonio Richmond double down the left field line. Waine drove in the first run on his ground out to first that scored Arnold. Richmond touched home for the second run in the inning on Ryan Sainz single to center field.
ECU answered the Tigers in the bottom of the fourth pushing its lead to 7-2. Harrison Eldridge drew a free pass to start the inning and then was forced out on Mollenhauer’s fielder’s choice. Mollenhauer promptly stole second, his ninth swipe of the year, then moved to third on Batts’ infield single to third. Tousley also reached on a fielder’s choice in the inning scoring Mollenhauer. Batts would score two batters later when Wood reached on an error by third baseman Christopher Phethean.
Bryon Weston brought the Tigers within three, 7-4, when he took a Sasser fastball to left field, a two-run shot that scored Waine in front of him, in the top of the sixth.
Batts answered the Tigers threat with his fourth homer of the year, a solo shot to left putting the lead at 8-4 in the sixth.
Phethean drove in Savannah State’s fifth run of the game with a single to center in the seventh making the score 8-5 ECU.
With two outs in the seventh, Batts singled through the left side driving in two more runs and pushing the lead to 10-5.
ECU continued its scoring putting a four spot on the board in the eighth to push the lead to 14-5, which was high lighted by Jamie Ray’s first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field.
Offensively the Pirates had four batters account for 11 of the teams 16 hits. Wood led the way with four, followed by Batts with three and Eldridge and Roller each with two.
ECU will be back in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Chapel Hill to face N0. 3 ranked North Carolina in midweek clash with a scheduled first pitch set for 6 p.m. (EDT).