GREENVILLE, N.C. - Zach Wright hit two home runs and Austin Chrismon worked five strong innings in his first collegiate start as East Carolina (13-4) topped Buffalo (2-11) to record its 10th win in the last 12 games Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the game tied at three heading to the bottom of the seventh, ECU pushed across a pair of runs taking a commanding 5-3 lead and never looked back. Wright, who has been seeing the ball well lately, singled up the middle to start the frame which was followed by a bunt single from freshman Ben Fultz.
After a Buffalo pitching change, Chase McDonald moved the runners 90 feet on a grounder back to the mound where Daniel Ginader flipped the ball over to River McWilliams for the first out. On the next batter, Ginader was called for a balk scoring Wright and sending Fultz to third. Freshman Jonathan Holt, in his first collegiate at-bat, sent a two-out first pitch offering to right field scoring Fultz to cap the inning.
Wright put the game out of reach in the eighth when he drilled his sixth round-tripper of the season (second of the game), sending a 1-0 pitch to right field scoring Corey Thompson and John Wooten in front of him.
Brad Mincey (3-0) picked up the win after tossing 1.2 innings of shutout relief with two punch outs. The senior from Wilmington, N.C. extended his current scoreless streak to 18.2 innings and lowered his ERA to 0.44 on the season. Chrismon scattered three hits over five frames in his third appearance of the season where he allowed two runs (one earned) with a walk to go along with his career-high four punch outs. Joseph Hughes worked 1.1 innings of relief allowing a run on two hits and senior Mike Anderson closed the game working the ninth frame added a pair of strikeouts.
Jesse Reinstein (0-1) got the loss after surrendering two runs (both earned) on two hits with a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Starter Michael Burke went 5.1 frames and was touched for three runs (two earned) on five hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts. Josh Edwards (1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, BB) served up Wright’s three-run homer in the eighth and Jonathan Fragulia (0.1) closed the eighth stanza getting McDonald to ground out.
ECU took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a pair of errors by the Bulls. With two outs, Wooten walked and then scored when Wright reached on a throwing error by third baseman Alex Baldock and another throwing error by the right fielder Daniel Scahill.
Buffalo knotted the game at two in the top half of the second when Michael Scarcello singled to right center scoring Jordan Camp, who reached on a Thompson error at first base.
In the bottom of the third, McDonald gave the Pirates a 2-1 advantage when he grounded out to short scoring Wooten, who reached on fourth Bulls error of the night.
Each team scored a run in the fifth and Buffalo tied the game at three in the top of the seventh on a Baldock single to right field that plated Matt Pollock.
On the night the Pirates pounded out 11 hits with Wright (4-for-5), McDonald (2-for-5) and Jack Reinheimer (2-for-4) each recorded multiple base knocks. The Pirate pitching staff allowed just two earned runs and struck out nine Bulls hitters marking the eighth time this season ECU has fanned at least eight batters in a game.
The Pirates will be back in action this weekend when they play host to Rutgers in a three-game non-conference series starting Friday, March 18 at 6 p.m. (EST).