|LOS ANGELES - Brandon Crawford's grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning secured a series win for the 15th ranked UCLA Bruins as they defeated East Carolina 9-7 last Saturday afternoon inside Jackie Robinson Stadium.
In a game that saw the lead change hands seven different times on the day, UCLA (5-4) trailing by two, 7-5, heading into the bottom of the eighth, got some clutch hitting from All-American shortstop Crawford.
After Mickey Wiesser and Eddie Murray drew consecutive walks off of ECU (2-3) reliever Shane Mathews, Alden Carrithers loaded the bases with a single to center setting up the dramatic finish for the Bruins.
Brant Rustich picked up the win for the Bruins working 2/3's of an inning allowing two runs on two hits with two walks. Garett Claypool picked up his first save of the year retiring the Pirates in a 1-2-3 fashion in the top of the ninth.
UCLA starter Brendan Lafferty lasted just four innings surrendering three runs on six hits before giving way to Jason Novak. Alongside of Novak, Paul Schmidt and Kevin Brophy worked 3 1/3 innings giving up two runs on two hits and striking out three.
For the Pirates, starter Dustin Sasser pitched a strong 5 2/3 innings allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.
ECU's bullpen, which has been lights out on the young season, gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings, as the Bruins picked up a pair on Josh Ruhlman and four on Mathews. Brett Butts and Mike Flye each were perfect in their appearances.
NCWC BASEBALL: The North Carolina Wesleyan baseball squad wrapped up its first road trip of 2007 on last Saturday, falling to Piedmont College by a 5-4 score.
Previously on Thursday and Friday, the Battling Bishops had earned 6-3 and 3-2 wins over Huntingdon and LaGrange, respectively, to finish the trip with a 2-1 record. Wesleyan, ranked 7th nationally, is now 7-2 to start the season.
On Thursday in Montgomery, AL, Bishop hurler Ben Pearson went seven strong innings and allowed just one earned run en route to his second win of the season. Sophomore closer Justin Batts tossed a perfect ninth to pick up his third save.
Offensively, the Bishops jumped out to a 6-0 lead through six innings by plating two runs in the fourth and four in the fifth.
On Friday at LaGrange, Wesleyan's Blake Rice out-dueled the Panthers' Joey Merrifield. Rice, who threw a no-hitter in his first start, pitched a complete game five-hitter and improved to 2-0 on the season, walking one and striking out eight. Merrifield also went the distance, scattering eight hits. He allowed two earned runs, walked two, and struck out five.
NCWC HOOPS: The North Carolina Wesleyan men's basketball team dropped its final two regular season games of 2006-07 last Friday and Saturday, falling to Ferrum College and Averett University by 86-73 and 70-53 scores, respectively, in Everett Gymnasium.
Saturday saw the Bishops recognize the two senior members of their squad, Emanuel Alston and Stephen Mobley, prior to the game. Wesleyan completes its regular season slate with a 10-14 overall record and 5-7 conference mark.
RM RAFFLE: Rocky Mount High School's Booster Club will hold a reverse raffle fundraiser on Saturday, March 17 in the school's main gym.
The last ticket drawn wins $10,000. Other drawings through the night will give out $200 each. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction on many contributed items.
For a $100 ticket, patrons will receive a dinner for two (menu will include grilled chicken, potatoes, slaw, dessert and a drink). Three hundred tickets will be put up for sale.
To purchase a ticket(s), contact Rick Adams (443-4982 or 443-7011) or Mike Gainey (977-3085).
AAU HOOPS: The Wake Forest Wizards AAU Basketball Program will be hosting tryouts/open gym on upcoming Sunday nights at the Franklin Academy Gymnasium in Wake Forest.
Girls ages 8-13 are welcome to participate.
Times will be from 6-7:30 p.m. each Sunday.
For more information on the Wake Forest Wizards, call Art Wollett at (919) 669-2062 or Greg Bunn at (919) 269-4274.
DRAKE: The North Carolina Wesleyan Department of Athletics has announced that freshman Trey Drake of men's basketball has been selected as the USA South Rookie of the Week for February 19th. Drake, a freshman point guard from Emporia, VA, collects his seventh honor of the season after averaging 17.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game last week.
In a 79-73 loss at USA South foe Methodist, Drake scored 15 points with four assists, three rebounds, and one steal. In an 86-73 loss to USA South rival Ferrum, Drake scored a team-high 26 points while adding a game-high four steals, three rebounds, and one assist. Finally, in a 70-53 loss to conference rival Averett, Drake contributed 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Drake finished the regular season averaging 14.7 points per game. He also led the team in steals with 61 and was second in assists with 87.
In Tuesday's USA South Tournament first round play, the Bishops traveedl to Christopher Newport for a 7:30 p.m. match-up with the Captains. Wesleyan enters the tournament as the #6 seed, while the Captains are the #3 seed. NCWC swept CNU during the regular season.