May 8, 2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Arik Sikula posted a career-high 12 strikeouts, but East Carolina rallied to score two in the top of the ninth as the eventual game-winning run came home on a suicide squeeze to give the Pirates the 5-4 win over the Marshall University baseball team on Sunday afternoon at Power Park.
Sikula, who did not figure in the decision, worked into the eighth (7.1 innings total) allowing six hits and three earned runs to score to go along with his career-best 12 punch outs as Marshall dropped to 18-26, 5-13 in league play. The 12 strikeouts for Sikula marked the most by a MU pitcher since Shane Farrell tallied 11 against Eastern Kentucky in 2009.
ECU (30-17, 11-10 C-USA) received a stellar performance out of the bullpen from Shawn Armstrong. The righty earned the victory to improve to 3-1, as he fanned seven batters over the last four innings, giving up just one hit, a single to Kenny Socorro. Armstrong worked in relief of ECU ace Seth Maness, who logged the first five frames, surrendering four earned runs off eight hits with three strikeouts.
Offensively, Thor Meeks finished 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored and Nathan Gomez launched his fourth homer of the season, his second in as many days. For the series Meeks hit a team-best .636 (7-for-11) with three doubles, a homer, three runs scored and three RBI. Socorro wasn’t too shabby at the dish either, roping a team-high eight hits in 14 at bats (.571) for the weekend.
N.Gomez’s solo no-doubt bomb in the second started a string of four-straight innings for the Herd notching a run on the scoreboard.
Following ECU scoring a run in the top half of the third on a Philip Clark RBI single, Isaac Ballou brought home Meeks with a cue shot to shortstop for an infield single.
In the fourth, Gray Stafford sliced a single between short and third to bring Victor Gomez around from second with the Herd’s third run of the day.
The final run for the Marshall offense was produced in the fifth, when Victor Ramos hit a laser to left for a double, plating Meeks who had doubled to start the inning.
Leading 4-1, ECU would score four unanswered runs, by crossing home once in the sixth and eighth and twice in the ninth.
The game-winning run came on suicide squeeze off the bat of Clark, which brought Jonathan Holt home off MU reliever Ian Kadish.
Josh King (2-3) was tagged with the loss.
NEXT UP: Marshall plays a doubleheader against Radford on Tuesday at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m., with both games slated as seven inning affairs.