May 31, 2002
CLEMSON, SC – Second seed East Carolina withstood a seven-run rally and scored six unanswered runs to take a 13-7 victory over third seed Elon in the Clemson Regional Friday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. East Carolina (42-18-1) advances to play the winner of the Clemson vs. Georgia Southern game Saturday at 3:00 PM, while Elon (34-22) will play the loser of the Friday night contest at 11:00 AM on Saturday.
Neal Sears (9-3) earned the win by pitching 2.2 innings of relief, yielding two runs off two hits while walking one and striking out four. Adam Acosta (3-4) got the loss for Elon.
East Carolina jumped on top in the first inning when Darryl Lawhorn went deep to right center for his 18th home run of the year. The two-run shot was Lawhorn’s 99th hit of the season, a new single season record for the Pirates. Bryant Ward’s sacrifice fly brought home another run and put ECU ahead 3-0.
Lawhorn struck again in the second inning with a three-run bomb, giving the Pirates a 6-0 lead. The runs gave a cushion to starting pitcher Sam Narron, who held the Phoenix to three hits through the first six innings. Elon threatened in the fourth with runners at the corners and one out, but Narron struck out Wes Miller and got Morgan Frazier to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Elon finally got on the board in the seventh inning and exploded for seven runs. Miller led off the frame with a solo home run. The offense continued for Elon as it loaded the bases with no outs to chase Narron. Relief pitcher Kieran Mattison struck out Ricky Callison but walked Brian Ingram to plate one run. Neal Sears then came in to pitch for ECU and got the second out of the inning, but he walked Bryant to make the score 7-3. Jim Swenson then stepped to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw over the fence in center field to knot the game at seven.
East Carolina responded with five runs of its own in the bottom of the frame. Ryan Jones led off the inning with a single and came home two batters later when Warren Gaspar singled to center. Jedd Sorenson then doubled to left to plate Gaspar and the Pirates loaded the bases with one out. Stephens grounded to first but Swenson’s throw to home plate was off-line, allowing a run to score. Ward then singled up the middle to score two runs and extend the Pirate lead to 12-7.
ECU added a run in the eighth and Sears retired the Phoenix in the ninth to close out the victory. Lawhorn led the way for the Pirate offense by going 2-4 with two home runs and six RBIs while Gaspar had a team-high four hits in six at-bats.
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