McDonald, Maness help Pirates sink Navy, 6-1
Senior righty delivers fifth complete game of season
Seth Maness turned in a five-hit, complete-game shutout and Chase McDonald belted a grand slam to lift No. 2 seed East Carolina to a 6-1 victory over No. 4 Navy.
The Pirates (40-20) took a 1-0 lead in the second. Chase McDonald led off with a double to right center. Zach Wright proceeded to walk and John Wooten reached on a bunt single to load the bases. It looked as though Navy may escape the inning unscathed after Ben Fultz flied out to left and McDonald was gunned down at the plate attempting to tag up. However, freshman Jack Reinheimer delivered a run-scoring single that ensured that ECU didn't come up empty-handed.
In the third, a Navy error helped the Pirates push their advantage to 2-0. Corey Thompson drew a one-out walk and stole second. With two outs, he came home when Chase McDonald reached on a fielding error by the second baseman.
Navy starter Sam Long did his best to match Maness to keep his Middies within striking distance and it remained 2-0 through six.
However, Long was lifted from the game in favor of Preston Gainey after he issuing a base on balls to Reinheimer to start the seventh. Gainey, who also struggled with his command, walked Ussery before striking out Philip Clark and Corey Thompson. The reliever would then walk Whitehead to load the bases, which set the stage for McDonald's first career grand slam that was essentially the knockout blow to the Midshipmen.
Maness improved to 10-3 with the victory.
The Pirates only had six hits in the game, but were the beneficiary of ten walks by Navy pitchers.
Chase McDonald and John Wooten went 2-for-4 to lead ECU.
Alex Azor was 2-for-4 for Navy.
The Pirates will now get a re-match with the Red Storm in another elimination game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner will have to beat UVA twice.
The Midshipmen conclude their season at 33-25-1.
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