ECU improved its record to 5-4 with a win over the St. John’s Red Storm in game two of the series, 8-1.
ECU clinched a series victory with a win over the Red Storm on Saturday.
Excellent pitching behind ECU starter Ryan Williams and consistent defense was the foundation behind this Pirates victory.
While only striking out one batter, Williams pounded the strike zone, locating the majority of his fastballs and changeups. The junior surrendered seven hits and just one run in eight innings pitched.
“He works quick," said senior second baseman Bryan Bass. "I love that about him. He’s always throwing strikes.”
Pirate hitters backed Williams’ performance early with two runs in the first and one in the second ignited by freshman catcher Luke Lowery’s one out triple.
Small ball and manufacturing runs has been the premise of ECU’s offense this series. Head coach Billy Godwin gave Bass the green light for a squeeze play that would score Lowery.
“Anytime you can jump on a team early and build off that for the rest of the game,” said designated hitter Drew Reynolds, “It puts you in the driver’s seat because you can attack from an offensive stand point and put some runners in motion and make things happen.”
Red Storm starter Sean Hagan would not recover from the early innings and continue to labor. The Pirates would solidify the victory with a five-run sixth inning, consisting of five hits - four consecutive at one point - and a Ty Blankmeyer error at second base.
Lowery would end the day with three hits and two runs, while Bass celebrated his birthday a day early with three hits and a RBI of his own. Eight of the nine ECU starters recorded a hit on the day.
After a costly error in the first game of the series, third baseman Zach Houchins bounced back with a defensive performance worthy of recognition. The slick fielding junior saved a double in the second, a single in the third and initiated a textbook double play later in the eighth.
“Defense is very key and very solid and it’ll continue to be solid,” said Bass.
Godwin made note of Houchins' performance.
“What I’m more impressed with is how he hangs in there and turns the double play," said Godwin. “That’s as good as it gets. It’s something he’s really worked on.”
ECU has won five out of its last six games and is set to play St. John’s (1-9) on Sunday in the finale of the series.