May 30, 2009

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Dingers, double plays and Daniels deliver for ECU

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder

GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina scored in each of the first four innings and turned three timely double plays as the top-seeded Pirates outscored fourth-seeded Binghamton 11-7 in a first-round Greenville Regional game.


ECU (43-17) will face second-seed South Carolina this evening at 6 p.m. The Bearcats (29-21), in their first NCAA Tournament, meet third-seeded George Mason in an elimination game this afternoon at 2 p.m.


“I’m excited and very proud of our effort,” ECU head coach Billy Godwin said. “We jumped out early and held off late. Sometimes holding off is a tough thing to do.”


The Pirates started quickly. Leadoff hitter Trent Whitehead (2 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI) hit the first pitch out to left for his 7th homer to put ECU on the board. With one out, Stephen Batts doubled to right, stole third and scored on a balk for a 2-0 advantage.


“I had my mind set that there was one pitch I was looking for and if I didn’t get it, I was going to take it,” Whitehead said. “I got a good pitch to hit and luckily I made contact.”


The Bearcats threatened in the second as Joe Charron reached on an error and moved to third on a base hit Peter Bregartner. Jeff Abrams hit into a 5-4-2 double play C.J. Lukaszewski grounded out to end the rally.


“I thought our defense was very good,” Godwin said. “I thought the double plays were huge. I thought the play that really was a huge play in the game was the 5-4-2 double play. That’s a high-level play. [Second baseman Ryan Wood, right] read that, saw the play, had the guy dead at the plate.”


The Pirates also turned double plays in the third and eighth to squelch rallies.


Devin Harris (2 for 3, 2 R) kept the power show going in the second for ECU with his 13th homer to push the lead to 3-0. Dustin Harrington belted a three-run dinger in a four-run third to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead.


After Joe Charron (3 for 5, 4 RBI) belted a two-run homer in the fourth for the Bearcats, ECU answered with four more in the bottom of the frame for an 11-2 lead.


Bailey Daniels (2-2) was key out of the pen for the Pirates. In the fifth, BU hit starter Chris Heston hard the third time through the lineup. After three scored in the inning, Daniels surrendered an RBI single to Joe Charron to make it 11-6 with runners on the corners and no outs. Daniels got two called strikeouts and a fielder’s choice to end the threat.


Daniels’ plan was “just to minimize damage and try to get us back in the dugout without too much damage.”


Daniels (left) went four innings with three hits, one run, no walks and three strikeouts. He surrendered a solo homer to Charron in the seventh to complete the scoring.


“I’m really happy, obviously, with the way our guys competed in the last two-thirds of the game,” BU head coach Tim Sinicki said. “I think we came out on the big stage and were maybe overwhelmed a little bit.”


“Our team this year has been a real battle-back team,” Charron said. “The [America East] championship game and every single game in our conference tournament we had to come from behind.


“Everybody in our lineup is a good hitter,” Charron added. “I had a great day today, but everybody in front of me and behind me did their job, too. We just came up a bit short today.”


Wood had two hits and two runs for the Pirates. Corey Taylor finished with three hits and two RBI for the Bearcats.


(photos by Rob Goldberg, courtesy of ECU Media Relations Office)