2012 Game No. 41
Pirates fend off 7th-ranked
From staff and electronic reports
View the Mobile Alpha version of this report.
East Carolina sophomore righthander Drew Reynolds
enticed Derek Hamilton into a ground ball that produced a 6-4-3 double play,
cutting short a 9th-inning Rice rally and cementing a 4-3 Conference USA
victory for the Pirates on Sunday at Reckling Park.
Reynolds, who carried out double duty as designated
hitter, faced only three batters in preserving a league-leading seventh win
of the season for ECU starter Jharel Cotton (7-0). A junior righthander,
Cotton struck out five and parceled out two runs on nine hits with no walks
before giving way after 6 1/3 innings.
The Pirates led 4-1 when junior southpaw Jake
Harris came on for Cotton in the 7th with runners on first and second. Owls
junior second baseman Christian Stringer, who was 4-for-5 on the day, laced
a single through the right side, driving in Michael Ratterree from second
and ending Harris's quick stint on the mound. Ratterree had reached on an
infield hit and advanced on a single up the middle by Michael Fuda.
Freshman righthander Jeff Hoffman relieved Harris
and the uprising was promptly extinguished as Stringer was cut down at
second on an attempted steal and pinch hitter Chase McDowell went down
Hoffman kept the Owls at bay until the 9th when he
gave up a leadoff double to pinch hitter Keenan Cook and issued a walk to
Ratterree. That set the stage for Reynolds to nail down his
conference-leading eighth save of the season, but not before Rice threatened
to swing the outcome in its favor.
Hoffman caught Fuda looking on a 1-2 pitch for the
second out before Stringer turned up the pressure with an infield single
that scored Cook, closing the East Carolina advantage to 4-3. Hamilton then
stroked a grounder to sophomore shortstop Jack Reinheimer who initiated the
game-ending double play.
The No. 7 Owls jumped on the scoreboard in the 1st
inning when Stringer led off with a single, raced to third on a single to
right field by designated hitter J.T. Chargois and scored on a single Craig
The 24th-ranked Pirates came up with three runs off
Rice starter Andrew Benak in the 4th. Senior third baseman Corey Thompson
walked and junior leftfielder/first baseman John Wooten singled to start the
inning. Senior catcher Zach Wright followed with a single to right and ended
up on second as a Rice throwing error allowed Thompson to score and Wooten
to take third.
Wooten came in and Wright moved to third on a
groundout by junior outfielder Philip Clark. Wright then dashed home on a
sacrifice fly to center by Reinheimer.
East Carolina added a run in the 5th on singles by
Younger, Reynolds and Wooten, chasing Benak (5-2) with two outs in the
inning. Rice relievers John Simms, Taylor Wall and Tyler Duffey shut down
ECU from that point on, combining for 4 1/3 innings of no-hit ball.
The Pirates managed to hang on despite being outhit
by the Owls 12-8. Wooten, at 2-for-4, was ECU's only player with multiple
hits. In addition to Stringer's four-hit performance, Chargois, Manuel and
Fuda had two hits apiece for Rice.
With the triumph, East Carolina avoided a sweep in
the the closely-contested three-game series and stayed in the thick of the
C-USA regular season race. The Pirates (27-13-1, 9-5-1 C-USA) are in sole
possession of third place, while the second-place Owls (30-12, 11-4) trail
leader Central Florida (34-8, 12-3) by a game.
a sterling pitchers duel pitting its stellar righthander, Matthew Reckling,
against ECU's ace leftie, Kevin Brandt, on Friday. The Owls prevailed on
a walk-off 10th-inning home run by Manuel on Saturday.
The Pirates will bus to Chapel Hill on Wednesday
for a 6 p.m. matchup with North Carolina before turning their focus back to
conference action in a
weekend series at home against Tulane starting on Friday.
BOX SCORE #41
East Carolina 4, Rice 3
ECU SID GAME STORY
RU SID GAME STORY
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012
Venue: Reckling Park, Houston, TX
Records: ECU 27-13-1, 9-5-1 Conference USA;
RU 30-12, 11-4.