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LeClair's boys quash
seven-run Elon rally

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CLEMSON, SC (AP) — Warren Gaspar's RBI single in the seventh inning broke a 7-all tie and got East Carolina back on the road to a 13-7 victory against Elon on Friday in a wild start to the Clemson NCAA regional.

The Pirates (42-18-1) were cruising, ahead 6-0 after two innings led by Darryl Lawhorn's 18th and 19th home runs. Starter Sam Narron, the nephew of Texas Rangers skipper Jerry Narron, was also on his game, giving up three hits through six innings.

But the Phoenix, in their first NCAA tournament appearance, rallied to tie things with a 7-run seventh that was capped by Jim Swenson's grand slam to right center.

Instead of acting stunned, East Carolina came right back. The Pirates got a single from Ryan Jones, a sacrifice by pinch-hitter Ben Sanderson and Gaspar's fourth hit of the game for the go-ahead run. Jedd Sorenson followed with an RBI double and the Pirates scored three more times in the inning to advance.

Elon (34-22) will play Georgia Southern in an elimination game Saturday morning. The Southern Conference champion Eagles were pummeled by top-seeded Clemson 15-1 in Friday's second game.

Lawhorn, a freshman, set East Carolina's single season record with 100th hit. He finished with five RBIs.

Reliever Neal Sears (8-3) worked the last 2innings for the victory.

Adam Acosta (3-4) was the most effective of Elon's five pitchers, but took the loss.

East Carolina's win was witnessed by coach Keith LeClair, who has been fighting Lou Gehrig's disease since last summer. LeClair can no longer speak and has limited movement from the degenerative illness, which attacks the body's muscles.

He watched from a van next to the first-base dugout, shielded by a blue tailgating tent.

Clemson coach Jack Leggett, who coached LeClair at Western Carolina, visited with his stricken friend before the game. Leggett had his team stop by during the ECU-Elon contest.

When the game ended, the Pirates rushed across the field to visit LeClair.

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Copyright 2002 Associated Press.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. contributed to this report.

02/23/2007 10:44 AM

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