GREENVILLE, N.C. - UNC Wilmington (21-16) grabbed a 3-0 lead early against No. 24 East Carolina (25-11-1) and never looked back as it notched a 10-1 victory over the Pirates in non-conference action Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Seahawks received multi-hit performances from four different players, including four knocks by Thomas Pope and three by Hunter Ridge. Corey Dick collected a game-high five RBI and Michael Bass added a pair of hits for the Colonial Athletic Association’s first-place team.
UNCW claimed a 3-0 advantage in the top of the second. Pope and Drew Farber recorded back-to-back one-out singles to put runners at first and second. East Carolina starter Jeff Hoffman struck out Jake Koening for the second out of the frame before Dick launched a 3-2 fastball from ECU’s freshman right-hander over the wall in right for a three-run blast. The round-tripper ended a streak of 20 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings twirled by the reigning Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week.
The visitors extended their lead to 4-0 in the fourth. Pope led off the inning with an infield single and then stole second and third base. Koenig produced a run-scoring groundout to plate his teammate from the hot corner.
UNCW chased Hoffman after scoring a pair of runs in the fifth. Bass and Matt Campbell laced singles to lead off the frame, putting runners at first and second. Hoffman struck out Tyler Molinaro and Andrew Cain to leave runners at second and third with two outs, but Ridge drove in both base runners with a laser shot to the gap in right center for a two-run double pushing the UNCW lead to 6-0. Dylan Dickens replaced Hoffman on the bump and prevented further damage in the fifth, striking out Farber to end the stanza.
Hoffman (1-1) surrendered six runs (all earned) on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, while walking one and striking out six in the shortest start of his young career.
The Seahawks loaded the bases again in the seventh. Andrew Cain singled up the middle to begin the frame and was thrown out trying to steal second. Ridge and Pope recorded consecutive singles and each runner advanced 90 feet when Dickens walked Farber and was pulled from the game for Dario Santangelo.
Dickens surrendered four hits and one run (earned) while walking three and striking out one in 1 2/3 frames before handing the ball over to Santangelo with the bases juiced and one out.
Santangelo struck out Koenig for the second out, but was unable to escape the seventh unscathed as
UNCW extended its lead to 7-0 after Dick drew a walk, forcing in Ridge from third.
East Carolina trimmed its deficit to 7-1 in the seventh. Tim Younger was hit by a pitch with one out and took second on Drew Reynolds’ single to left center a batter later. UNCW starter Tyler DeLoach was pulled after Reynolds’ knock. Tom Timoney relieved DeLoach, who retired Corey Thompson on a lineout to deep center for the second out of the frame. John Wooten drew a walk to load the bases and Jay Cannon drove in the lone Pirate run with a run-scoring single to left.
DeLoach (3-2) was wildly effective on Tuesday evening, limiting the Pirates to just a pair of hits and one run (earned) over 6 1/3 frames while walking four batters, hitting four more, and striking out three in his third win of the season.
Timoney finished the contest allowing one hit in 1 1/3 innings of work while walking two and striking out a pair. Christian MacDonald recorded the final four outs for the Seahawks and allowed two hits.
UNCW plated three more runs in the top of the ninth to cap the scoring at 10-1. Pope scored on a wild pitch, Farber touched home on a run-scoring groundout by Dick and Koenig came in to score on Bass’ second single of the evening. The trio of ninth-inning runs were credited to Santangelo, who was removed from the contest after UNCW loaded the bases with nobody out. Austin Chrismon collected the final three outs and yielded one hit.
Santangelo was touched for three runs (all earned) on two hits while walking two and striking out one in 1 2/3 frames.
Although the Pirates were only able to muster five hits, they had plenty of chances to score runs. ECU left a total of 13 men on base and stranded the bases loaded in the second and seventh innings. Additionally, East Carolina also left a runner in scoring position in the third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth stanzas.
Sophomore Drew Reynolds (3-for-5) was the only Pirate to record multiple hits in the contest as he roped three singles. Cannon (1-for-3, 2 BB) contributed another single and Wooten doubled with two outs in the ninth for the fifth and final hit – ECU’s lowest hit total since amassing the same amount on Mar. 23 against UCF.
The Pirates return to the diamond Wednesday night hosting William & Mary, its second CAA opponent in as many days. Freshman Deshorn Lake (0-1, 7.11 ERA) is expected to start on the mound for the Purple and Gold, while the Tribe will counter with southpaw Matt Wainman (3-3, 3.89). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EST).