ECU Falls To The Citadel 8-6

Ryan Wood’s career night was not enough to help East Carolina, as the Pirates fell 8-6 to The Citadel Tuesday night in midweek action at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Wood went 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored to pace the Pirates (32-16) offense. Ryan Tousley collected two hits (2-for-4), his fourth straight game with multiple hits. Stephen Batts was 1-for-4 at the plate and extended his current hitting streak to 14 games, the longest of the season for the Pirates.

Justin Smith improved to 6-3 after going six innings for the Bulldogs (26-21). He allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and four punch-outs. Jamie Maxwell relieved Smith in the seventh, lasting 1 1/3 inning, allowing one run on one hit with three free passes and two walks. Brett Bull (1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB) and Nick Sprowls (1.1 IP, 1 H, save) also saw action coming out of the bullpen.

Josh Ruhlman suffered the loss for the Pirates falling to 4-1 on the season after working 3 2/3 innings in relief where he gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts. Pirate starter Mike Anderson lasted 2 1/3 innings before being replaced by Ruhlman in the third. Anderson allowed one run on five hits with one strikeout. Chris Powell (2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 K) made his ninth appearance of the season while Jason Neitz (2/3 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) made his 26th appearance in the ninth.

Richard Jones gave The Citadel a 1-0 lead in the second when he led off the frame with a solo home run to right field putting.

Wood put the Pirates up 2-1 in the bottom of the third with a two-run shot to left-center. Brandon Henderson drew a one-out walk then scored on Wood’s two-run shot.

The Citadel tied the game at two with a single by Chance Smith up the middle that scored Joe Hoerter from second. Hoerter reached after being plunked by a Ruhlman fastball then stole second base to get into scoring position.

In the fifth inning, the Bulldogs added two runs to take a 4-2 lead. Chris Swauger reached on a Batts error and advanced to second. Swauger then moved to third on a pass ball and scored on Sonny Meade’s ground out to first. Zach Brown scored the second run of the inning when Bryan Altman reached on a fielder’s choice. Brown singled to right then advanced to third on another Pirate error.

Meade pushed The Citadel lead to four, 6-2, in the sixth with a two-out single to right field that scored Kyle Jordan and Chance Smith. Jordan singled to left to start the inning then moved to second on Hoerter’s sac bunt and then went to third on Smith’s single through the left side.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 8-2 in the top of the seventh. Jones led off with a double to right-center then moved to third on Altman’s ground out to second. Jordan plated the first run of the frame with a single to left-center that scored Jones. Hoerter recorded his first career hit with a single up the middle that allowed Jordan to touch home.

Wood smacked his second home run of the game and fifth of the season, cutting into the lead 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh with one out.

ECU pulled within two, 8-6, in the bottom of the eighth. Jake Dean drew a one-out walk then moved to second on a passed ball before Drew Schieber and Henderson loaded the bases with walks of their own. All three runners advanced on a wild pitch with Dean touching home on Jamie Ray’s at-bat. Wood capped the scoring in the frame with his fourth hit and fourth RBI of the game on a single through the left side that plated Henderson.

The Citadel banged out 15 hits with Smith and Jones each collecting three and Meade, Brown and Jordan posting two hits each.

The Pirates will be back in action Wednesday night when the play host to nationally-ranked and in-state rival North Carolina. Jeff Ostrander will take the hill for ECU with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. (EDT).