Baseball: No. 14 East Carolina Nips WVU
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Despite staying close throughout the contest, the West Virginia University baseball team lost a tight battle with No. 14 East Carolina, 6-3, on Saturday afternoon at the Keith LeClair Classic in Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Mountaineers (2-7) swung well against ECU starter Brad Mincey, tagging him for three runs on six hits in the first two innings. Mincey left the game early with forearm stiffness, and WVU managed just three hits against reliever Zach Woods (2-0), who earned the victory after holding WVU to no runs on three hits with 11 strikeouts in seven innings pitched.
Senior reliever Andy Altemus entered the game with two outs in the fourth inning and was able to shut down ECU’s talented lineup. The Morgantown native allowed just two hits and no runs while striking out two in 4.1 innings. Altemus gave his defense a chance to make plays, throwing 29 of his 41 pitches for strikes while working quickly through each at-bat.
Junior Eric Hinkle (0-1), making his WVU debut, took the loss after allowing six runs in 3.2 innings pitched.
Junior Jedd Gyorko led all hitters with three base hits, going 3-for-5 with one RBI on the afternoon. Dom Hayes went 2-for-4 with one double, garnering his fourth multi-hit game of the season.
Freshman Matt Frazer extended his hitting streak to eight games on a single to centerfield in the third inning. WVU recorded nine base hits altogether.
Hinkle was able to get ahead of several of his batters in the first inning, but found it difficult to put away a strong offensive lineup. John Wooten put East Carolina up 2-0 in the opening frame on a bloop single to left center. Hinkle was able to induce a 4-6-3 double play to the following batter, Corey Thompson, and then forced a groundout by Austin Homan to get out of the jam.
WVU responded with three runs on four hits in the second inning. The Mountaineers scored all their runs with two outs, beginning with Mark Dvoroznak’s RBI double down the left field line to score Matt Malloy. Brady Wilson’s single through the left side then scored Dvoroznak, and Gyorko added WVU’s third consecutive hit with an RBI single to left field to make it 3-2.
The Pirates (6-3) added another run in the bottom half to knot the game at 3-3. Trent Whitehead hit a hard RBI grounder that was nicely corralled by Wilson for an out. Dustin Harrington then stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on third and hit a slow-roller to Gyorko, who made a nice play on the run to get the out.
Cameron Freeman’s two-out, two-run single to left field put ECU back on top at 5-3 in the third inning. Freeman then was tagged out on the same play after a relay from Malloy in left field was thrown to Colin Durborow at first base, who caught Freeman in a rundown to end the inning.
The Pirates added another run in the fourth on a two-out double down the left field line by Harrington to extend their lead to 6-3.
WVU wraps up its stay at the Keith LeClair Classic on Sunday morning against Illinois at Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is set for 10 a.m.