April 8, 2006
ORLANDO - East Carolina broke open a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning with five runs as the Pirates earned a 6-3 victory over host UCF Saturday evening at Jay Bergman Field. East Carolina (20-13, 3-5 C-USA) used seven singles in the seventh, including six straight hits, to break the game open.
UCF (20-14, 3-2 C-USA) left 13 runners on base, including eight through the first four innings.
"We left the bases loaded three different times and had five opportunities with the bases loaded, and we failed to get the ball out of the infield," commented UCF head coach Jay Bergman following the game. "We pieced it together pitching-wise. We hated to take Mitch (Herold) out in that situation, but when you are not scoring runs, you have to do something to shut them down."
Herold breezed through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. The freshman southpaw issued two walks to start the frame and yielded a RBI-single to Jamie Ray to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Bergman turned to reliever Derek Abriola to get the Golden Knights out of the inning as the Orlando native struck out Jake Smith with two runners on base.
The run scored by ECU in the fifth snapped a streak of 22.1 consecutive innings of shutout baseball for the UCF pitching staff.
UCF evened the game at one in the fifth on a RBI-single by freshman designated hitter Steve Stropp.
ECU broke the game open with five runs in the seventh, including a two-run single by Harrison Eldridge.
The Golden Knights attempted a comeback in the eighth, scoring two runs on a RBI-single by freshman shortstop Eric Kallstrom and a RBI-single by freshman pinch hitter Mitch Houck to cut the lead to 6-3. The Golden Knights wasted an excellent scoring opportunity for more runs, leaving the bases loaded in the eighth.
ECU reliever Jason Neitz worked the game's final 1.1 innings for his first save of the season.
Shane Mathews earned the win out of the Pirate bullpen with 2.2 innings of work. Mathews (3-2) fanned three en route to his third win of the season.
The Pirates outhit UCF 14-9, including three hits each from Ray and Ryan Wood.
Matt Ray had a big night offensively for UCF, going 2-for-2 with three walks and three stolen bases.
The two teams play the rubber game of the three-game series Sunday at 12 noon.