drama ends in East Carolina win
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East Carolina forced
extra innings with a last-gasp, three-run rally, then closed the
deal three frames later for a 5-4 Conference USA road victory
over Houston Friday night.
With two outs and the
bases empty in the 9th, Chase McDonald stirred the Pirates’ bats
with a home run. Philip Clark and Jonathan Holt followed with
singles, then came across the plate on an off-the-wall triple by
Ben Fultz that knotted the score at 4-4.
ECU (26-12, 7-6 C-USA)
punctuated its positive reversal of fortunes with classic
offensive strategy. Jack Reinheimer walked to start off the
12th, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Corey Thompson
and was brought home for what turned out to be the decisive run
by a Trent Whitehead single.
The Pirates got
effective pitching from starter Mike Wright and closer Seth
Simmons. Wright logged a career-high 9 innings, giving up only 6
hits and striking out 7.
Simmons fanned 5 and
surrendered only one hit in blanking the Cougars (19-20, 6-4)
over the final three frames. He finished off the clutch relief
job and improved to 5-1 by whiffing Landon Appling to
strand runners at the corners in the bottom of the 12th.
The teams will face off tonight at
Cougar Field at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of the three-game