CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chris Holba and Tyler Smith each had quality starts, while Spencer Brickhouse, Seth Caddell and Jake Washer each hit home runs helping No. 19 ECU to a doubleheader and series sweep (6-5, 12-2) over Charlotte Saturday afternoon at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. With the twin bill sweep the Pirates improve to 12-3 on the season while the 49ers fall to 8-7.
How It Happened (Game 1):
ECU broke a scoreless tie in the seventh frame putting up a four-spot taking a 4-0 lead. With Connor Litton standing on third and Washer on second, Jeremy Whitehead’s sac fly plated Litton for the Pirates first run. Two batters later Brady Lloyd singled through the left side pushing across Washer, which was followed by a Dusty Baker RBI single and a Turner Brown RBI base hit scoring Lloyd and Baker. Charlotte responded with two runs in the home half of the seventh on Tate Pennington’s two-RBI single down the right field line cutting the lead to two, 4-2. In the ninth, the Pirates plated two more on Drew Henrickson’s RBI double to left center and Brown’s fielder’s choice sac bunt. But the Niners wouldn’t go away quietly as they plated three in the ninth capping the scoring at 6-5.
How It Happened (Game 2):
The Pirates wasted little time in getting on the board in the second game scoring three-runs in the second for a 3-0 advantage. Washer led off the frame with a solo shot, his first, to right center. Lloyd followed with an infield single then Henrickson and Nick Barber reached on consecutive bunt singles before Baker’s sac bunt scored Henrickson. Brown’s base hit through the right side pushed across Barber for the final run in the frame. ECU blew the game wide open in the fourth plating five runs for an 8-0 advantage. Alec Burleson doubled to right center with the bases loaded scoring Barber, Baker and Whitehead. Brickhouse followed with a two-run homer down the right field line pushing across Burleson in front of him. Baker drove in Henrickson on a fielder’s choice to second base and Burleson plated Baker on an RBI ground out in the fifth extending the lead to 10-0. Caddell’s two-run no doubt home run to right center pushed ECU’s lead to 12-0 in the eighth. Charlotte would finally get on the board in the ninth plating a pair of runs making it a 12-2 ball game.
“In game one, Chris Holba was fantastic in a pitcher’s duel and we were able to break through in the seventh inning and then they answered back before we scored a couple more. Didn’t play great defense in the ninth, but (Alec) Burleson finished the job for us. The second game, Tyler Smith started it off giving us six scoreless innings and the offense really executed our plan early. Burleson had a big game for us with four RBI and then getting home runs by Brickhouse (two-run), Caddell (two-run) and Washer’s solo jack that got us on the board to start the game. Our speed really put pressure on them with Dusty Baker, Brady Lloyd and (Nick) Barber executing our plan. But I’m just really proud of our guys today stepping up when called on and never skipping a beat.”
Pirate Pitchers (G1):
Holba (4-0) picked up his fourth win of the season allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Ryan Ross worked one-third of an inning and Burleson notched his third save of the year surrendering three runs (all unearned) on three hits with a pair of punch outs in two innings.
Pirate Pitchers (G2):
Smith (2-0) got the win in game two tossing six scoreless frames where he gave up three hits, walked one and had three punch outs. ECU would use three arms out of the bullpen getting outings from Jake Kuchmaner (1.0 IP), Sam Lanier (1.0 IP, 1 BB) and Willy Strong (1.0 IP, 2 Hs, 2 Rs, 1 K).
49ers Staff (G1):
Matt Brooks (1-2) suffered the loss giving up three runs (all earned) on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The Niners would use four arms in relief in Matt Horkey (0.2 IP, 2 Hs, 1 R), Jonah Patten (0.2 IP, 1 R, 1 K), Colby Bruce (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R) and Jacob Craver (0.2 IP, 1K).
49ers Staff (G2):
Joey Cooner (2-1) lasted just three innings in the second game as he was touched for five runs (all earned) on seven hits with one walk. Once again, four 49ers worked out of the pen in Patrick Szczypinski (2.0 IP, 5 Hs, 5 Rs, 1 BB, 2 Ks), Philip Perry (1.0 IP, 1 H), Drew Morrison (1.2 IP, 3 Hs, 2 Rs) and Austin Wynn (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 Ks).
ECU's Bats (G1):
Six of the nine starters tallied at least one hit in the contest with Baker, Brown and Washer each collecting two. Brown drove in a team-best two runs, while Baker, Henrickson, Lloyd and Whitehead registered RBI. Six different Pirates scored a run with five of those coming from starters.
ECU’s Bats (G2):
The Pirates pounded out a season-high 17 hits with Barber (2), Burleson (3), Henrickson (3), Lloyd (2) and Whitehead (2) each registering multiple hits. Burleson drove in a career-high four runs with three coming on his bases loaded double., while Baker, Brickhouse and Caddell each plated two runs in the game. Nine different players scored a run with Baker, Barber and Henrickson crossing home twice.
Player of the Game (G1):
Holba extended his scoreless streak to start the season to 25.2 innings before allowing his first run in the seventh frame. The right-hander fanned six in the game including the side in the fifth inning. Prior to the seventh, he allowed three hits and only two batters reached second base. It was his third quality start of the season (sixth of his career) and the fourth time this year he has fanned at least six batters in a game (prior three starts had eight in each contest).
Player of the Game (G2):
Burleson had a career game at the plate going 3-for-6 with four RBI and one run scored. He drove in three runs on his bases loaded double in the fourth and had another on a ground out to second in the fifth. Burleson collected hits in the first (single), fourth (double) and ninth (single).
ECU returns home on Tuesday, March 13 to play host to VCU at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. (ET).