05/23/04 — Pirates finish off Eagles, set CUSA win record

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Pirates finish off Eagles, set CUSA win record

By David Rouse
Published in Sports on May 23, 2004 2:00 AM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- P.J. Connelly and Matt Bishop combined for a two-hit shutout while Ryan Norwood and John Poppert each recorded three hits as No. 4 East Carolina shut out No. 12 Southern Miss, 11-0, for the second time in three games to win the series and ruin Senior Day for the Golden Eagles.

The Pirates (47-9, 25-5 C-USA) tied the single-season school record for wins and set the Conference USA record for conference wins.

Connelly had a career outting, pitching a career-high six innings and striking out four before giving way to Bishop who pitched the final inning to finish out game which was called due to the 10-run rule.

Mike Cashion took the loss surrendering five earned runs in 2/3 of an inning.

Norwood went 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored including two doubles and his 14th home run of the season. Poppert finished 3-for-4 with two RBI including his third home run of the season.

East Carolina wasted no time chasing USM starter Mike Cashion from the game in the first inning. The Pirates pushed across five runs to stake a 5-0 lead. Ryan Norwood doubled in the Pirates first run after back-to-back singles from Billy Richardson and Ryan Jones. Jones scored on a ground out by Drew Costanzo to make it, 2-0. Mark Minicozzi singled in two more runs and Poppert's RBI single gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead.

Norwood's two-run home run extended the Pirate lead to 7-0 in the top of the second.

Norwood's 28th double of the season scored Jones who reached on an error pushing ECU ahead, 8-0, in the fourth. Costanzo drove in Norwood as the Pirates made it, 9-0, in the fourth.

Richardson hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Poppert in the fifth and Poppert's solo home run in the top of the seventh gave the Pirates an 11-0 lead.

Bishop sat down all three batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the victory.

East Carolina clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's C-USA Tournament and will play eghth-seeded Louisville Wednesday. The Cardinals defeated USF to gain the No. 8 seed.