06/01/09 — Pirates advance to Greenville Regional Finals

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Pirates advance to Greenville Regional Finals

By ECU Sports Information
Published in Sports on June 1, 2009 1:46 PM

ECU Sports Information

GREENVILLE -- It's winner take all.

Brandon Henderson slugged a seventh-inning grand slam and top-seeded East Carolina outlasted South Carolina 8-6 in the Greenville Regional on Sunday evening.

The Pirates (45-18 overall) and Gamecocks (40-22) meet today to decide the regional champion. Game time is 6 p.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium and general admission tickets are $10.

The winner faces No. 4 national seed North Carolina in the Super Regionals.

Freshman Kevin Brandt (9-1) surrendered four runs on nine hits in eight-plus innings on the mound. He logged three strikeouts and retired 11 consecutive USC batters from the second through sixth innings.

East Carolina pounded out 10 hits against the Gamecocks' pitching staff, including home runs from Kyle Roller and Dustin Harrington. Roller's three-run homer, his third of the day, gave the Pirates a 3-0, first-inning lead. He hit two bombs earlier Sunday in an elimination game against Binghamton.

Harrington stroked a lead-off homer in the fourth to extend the Pirates' advantage to 4-0.

South Carolina attempted to score in the fifth. Adam Matthews hit a deep drive to right field, but Devin Harris leaped, leaned over the wall and caught the ball to end the inning. Matthews hit two homers against the Pirates in 12-2 victory on Saturday.

ECU's Ryan Wood doubled down the left-field line to start the seventh inning. Stephen Batts drew a walk and Roller was plunked by a USC pitcher. Henderson stepped into the box and cleared the bases with his round-tripper.

The second-seeded Gamecocks scored six runs during the final three innings, including four in the ninth. Pirates closer Seth Simmons coaxed USC into back-to-back flyouts to end the contest.