Pats Win, Watch Former Star Shine
Patriot pride was at a high level in Greenville on Saturday afternoon.
After the Pinecrest baseball team defeated Northern Durham 5-2 in the first game of the Hot Stove Invitational baseball tournament, the coaches and players hopped on the bus and drove to East Carolina University. Before a frenzied purple-clad crowd of over over 4,000, they watched former Patriot star Seth Maness twirl a three-hitter against Rice, the No. 1 ranked team in the country, according to the Rivals.com poll.
The 16th-ranked Pirates won the game 4-1. Maness was named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week on Monday in recognition of the accomplishment.
"From my standpoint, it made the hair stand up on my arms," Pinecrest coach Jeff Hewitt said by phone. "I hope Seth saw the green and gold there because we were certainly rooting for him. It kind of brought back memories of the games he pitched for us. It was artwork."
The run scored against the sophomore right-hander from Pinehurst was unearned. In pitching his first complete game as a collegian, Maness, now 4-0, struck out eight batters and walked one. During one stretch, he retired 20 out of 21 batters. The victory was the first-ever for the Pirates against a team ranked No. 1 in one of the five major national polls.
"It's just one of those days you dream about," Maness told Nathan Summers of The Daily Reflector. "You can throw every pitch where you want it. It's just one of those days."
Maness needed 100 pitches to get the job done. After going 9-2 last season as a freshman, he was selected as the pre-season Conference USA Pitcher of the Year and named to a number of pre-season All-American squads. At Pinecrest, he compiled a career mark of 21-2.
"He was able to paint the black with his fastball, and when he's locked in like that, he's pretty good," ECU coach Billy Godwin said. "We've seen glimpses of that this year, but that was as good, certainly, as he's thrown, and at the best time to do it."
In spite of losing two out of three games to Rice, the Pirates (26-9) remain ranked in four of the top 25 polls, including a No. 17 ranking by ESPN/USA Today.
Hewitt is an ECU grad and former pitcher for the Pirates. His Pinecrest squad got an outstanding pitching performance from Zach Christian in the victory over Northern Durham. The junior left-hander is 3-1 for the season after allowing three hits and striking out nine batters while walking three.
Andrew MacDonald, who is 5-0, replaced Christian in the sixth and picked up his second save.
Taylor MacDonald had three hits to lead the Pats offensively.
A third inning single by Joey Grady was the only Patriot hit in an 11-0 loss to Eastern Wayne on Monday. A solid middle-inning relief stint by Brian Smith was one of the few bright spots.
Pinecrest (12-3) was scheduled to complete tournament play with a contest against J.H. Rose on Tuesday.
Regular season action resumes next Tuesday with a conference game at Scotland County.
The Patriots, Scots and Hoke County are currently tied for first place in the Mid-Southeastern Conference.
More like this story