Greenville, N.C. – East Carolina’s first non-weekend triumph came in typical midweek fashion.
Dylan Brown went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and an RBI in Tuesday's contest. (ECU Media Relations Photo)
In a game that featured multiple lead changes and plenty of momentum swings, the Pirates outslugged UNC Greensboro 11-9 to bring a momentary end to their midweek woes on Tuesday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
ECU pounded out 14 hits on the evening and played another crisp game defensively to overcome more subpar midweek pitching.
“You’ve got to win in our game in different ways and certainly it was a different way,” said Pirates’ head coach Billy Godwin. “You want all phases clicking like we had this weekend, but that doesn’t happen. Good clubs find ways to win in different ways and certainly that was big for us to come up tonight.”
Tied at 8-8 entering the seventh inning, the Spartans (6-4) briefly jumped ahead via a two-out, solo home run off the bat of Benigno Marrero against reliever Jake Harris.
The Pirates (7-4) wasted little time responding once again in the bottom half of the frame, burning the UNCG bullpen for three runs.
Luke Lowery and Bryan Bass began the inning with singles before being sacrificed to third and second, respectively, on a Jack Reinheimer bunt. Following a Drew Reynolds intentional base on balls to load the bases, junior Chase McDonald drove a 2-2 pitch into centerfield for a single, bringing home two runs to push ECU back ahead, 10-9.
A few batters later, Nick Thompson plated Reynolds on an infield single to extend the lead to 11-9.
After a scoreless eighth from Harris, Reynolds - also the team's closer - clinched the game with a scoreless ninth, earning his fourth save.
“Midweek games are the games you’ve got to win,” said McDonald. “(UNCG) put up nine runs and 11 hits and we responded every time. We put up 11 runs and 14 hits and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Six Pirate batters – Bass, Dylan Brown, Clark, Lowery, McDonald and Reinheimer – recorded multi-hit games to make up for a pitching staff that issued nine free passes.
Harris (1-0) earned the win for ECU in relief, tossing two innings of three-hit, one-run ball, while reliever Dylan Thompson (1-1) was pegged with the loss.
Trailing 3-0 early, ECU rallied for six runs between the second and third innings to take a 6-3 lead. RBI singles from Clark and Lowery mixed in with a run-scoring double from Zach Houchins knotted the score at 3-3 after two.
McDonald and Jay Cannon followed with a pair of RBI singles in the third to put ECU on top before Clark tallied his second RBI on a sacrifice squeeze bunt to plate McDonald.
After the Spartans batted around in the fifth to score three runs against Dylan Dickens, Clark notched his third RBI of the contest, flaring a single into the outfield to plate Brown to make it 7-6 ECU.
Greensboro wasted little time jumping back ahead in the top of the sixth, as a wild pitch from Tyler Bolton scored one and an RBI sacrifice fly from Lloyd Enzor put the Spartans on top 8-7.
The Pirates quickly knotted the score once again in the bottom of the sixth. After Reinheimer led the inning off with a single and was advanced to third on a pair of balks, Brown laced a double down the right field line to tie things at 8-8.
“It was big,” said Brown of the team’s initial midweek victory. “Every guy on the field contributed to that win today. It won’t one guy. It won’t one pitcher. Everybody that walked out there contributed and that was big for this game to get a win.”
ECU starting pitcher Andy Smithmyer struggled in his second start of the season, lasting just 1 1/3 innings. The senior walked two and hit a pair batters in his time on the mound, while also giving up two hits and three runs.
The Pirates are scheduled to return to the diamond when they travel to Old Dominion for their first road game on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Freshman left-handed pitcher Nick Durazo is slated to get the start for ECU.