05/17/04 — Despite loss, Pirates gain share of CUSA baseball title

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Despite loss, Pirates gain share of CUSA baseball title

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on May 17, 2004 1:55 PM

ECU Sports Information

KINSTON -- TCU's Austin Adams hit a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning and the Horned Frogs held off No. 5-ranked East Carolina's rally in the last two innings in a 3-1, Conference USA win Sunday afternoon at venerable Grainger Stadium.

TCU (30-22, 16-11 CUSA) took the final game of the series against the Pirates, who had their 22-game conference win streak snapped. However, they won their seventh straight series.

Robbie Findlay earned his eighth save of the season after tossing 3 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and recording four strikeouts.

Shane Mathews (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season despite pitching well. He allowed three earned runs, all on the home run, on six hits and struck out four in seven innings of work.

Matt Bishop tossed the final two scoreless innings.

Mark Minicozzi led the Pirates going 2-for-4 while Darryl Lawhorn finished 1-for-1 with the one RBI. Chad Huffman and Shelby Ford each had two hits for TCU.

East Carolina (45-8, 23-4) had the tying run come to the plate in the bottom of ninth with two outs. Drew Costanzo drew a walk. Jake Smith came to the plate signaling the tying run, but Findlay struck him out to end the game.

The Pirates pushed across their first run in the bottom of the seventh.

Drew Costanzo walked and moved to third on Mark Minicozzi's single to center field. Darryl Lawhorn's pinch-hit single drew ECU within, 3-1. After Billy Richardson grounded out to advance the runners to second and third, Findlay popped up Jamie Paige to end the threat.

Huffman's infield single jump-started the Horned Frogs in the fourth. Ford then was hit by a pitch with one out giving TCU two baserunners. Bo Cogbill appeared to have hit into an inning ending double play when ECU shortstop Billy Richardson fielded his ground ball and tossed to Trevor Lawhorn for the first putout at second. Ford's slide into second forced an off-target throw by Trevor Lawhorn. Adams then smacked his three-run homer over the left center field wall putting TCU ahead, 3-0.

Adams finished the game 1-for-3 with the three RBI as the Horned Frogs out-hit ECU, 6-5.

East Carolina now heads to Hattiesburg, Miss. for its final Conference USA series which will decide the C-USA regular-season championship. The Pirates have already clinched at least a share of the title and need one win to clinch the title outright.

ECU and Southern Miss open the series Thursday at 7:30 p.m.