05/20/05 — Win keeps ECU's NCAA hopes alive

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Win keeps ECU's NCAA hopes alive

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on May 20, 2005 1:47 PM

GREENVILLE --Adam Witter's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth scored Brian Cavanaugh from second as ECU won in dramatic fashion over Saint Louis Thursday, 8-7. The Pirates (33-21, 17-11) have now won six straight C-USA series openers and seven of their last eight C-USA games overall.

The win also keeps East Carolina's hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament alive.

After Harrison Eldridge singled to center to lead off the ninth, two consecutive fielder's choices and a Cavanaugh stolen base led up to the Witter single that got just past second baseman Patrick Valdez into right, scoring the game-winning run.

Drew Costanzo had the biggest day at the plate for ECU, going 2-for-4 with a home run, five RBI, a run scored and a walk. Cavanaugh and Mark Minicozzi also recorded multiple hits with Cavanaugh finishing 2-for-6 with two runs scored while Minicozzi went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.

T.J. Hose allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings of work. The freshman right-hander struck out six Billikens while walking two. Brett Braxton came on in the top of the seventh and went 11/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. P.J. Connelly pitched the final 12/3 innings, earning his fifth win on the year and his third win in the last nine days. The Pirates have now won all eight of Hose's starts this season.

Saint Louis (12-39, 7-21) was led offensively by Scott Peden who finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Johnny Sweeney, Drew Eder and Valdez all finished with two hits on the night while Bill Musselman and Jon Guyre each recorded two RBI.

Lance Rhodes went 51/3 innings before giving way to Eric Brewer in the fifth. Rhodes allowed six runs on seven hits while walking six and striking out one. Brewer tossed two scoreless innings before B.J. Rodrigue came on to toss the final 11/3 innings. Rodrigue suffered his fourth loss of the season, allowing the one run in the ninth to break the 7-7 tie.

Pat Steinhoff put SLU on the board in the top of the first with a solo homer to right. The Billikens added another run when Sweeney, who doubled and advanced to third on a Cavanaugh error, came home on a Peden single to center.

The Pirates didn't waste any time taking their first lead of the game, scoring three in the bottom of the third when Costanzo hit a three-run shot down the line in right, scoring Witter from second and Minicozzi from third.

Saint Louis tied the game up at three in the third when a Peden infield single scored John Bridges from third.

Musselman's two-run home run to left-center in the top of the sixth broke the 3-3 tie, giving the Billikens a 5-3 advantage.

ECU loaded the bases in the bottom half of the fifth and Minicozzi proceeded to bring home Cavanaugh from third and Dale Mollenhauer from second with a single to center, tying the ballgame up for the second time on the night. After a wild pitch moved runners up to second and third, Costanzo brought home two more with a line drive single up the middle, putting the Pirates up 7-5 after six.

The Billikens loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth.

The Pirates and the Billikens will play the second game of the series today night at 6 p.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium.