GREENVILLE, N.C. – Ian Townsend posted three hits, while Ryan Williams picked notched his fourth win and Drew Reynolds set the all-time saves record in route to East Carolina’s 3-2 win over Ohio State Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Pirates (6-5), who completed the LeClair Classic sweep, posted a 0.64 team ERA allowing five runs (two earned) on 15 hits, which was highlighted by record setting performances by Jeff Hoffman (14 strikeouts) and Williams (two wins). The win also marked the seventh time in events 11-year history that East Carolina claimed the tournament title.
Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the third, Townsend drove in the game-winning run with a shot down the right field line that scored Zach Houchins from second. Houchins started the frame with a walk and took second on wild pitch, all on the same play. Townsend stepped the box and delivered his second of three base hits sending a scorching grounder over the first base bag that kept rolling down the line easily pushing across Houchins.
Williams (4-0) recorded his fourth win in six relief outings tossing 3.2 scoreless frames allowing a hit and a walk, while striking out one. Davis Kirkpatrick, who made his second career start, surrendered a run (earned) on four hits with two free passes and a punch-out in 4.1 innings. Reynolds collected his third save of the year and 27th of his career passing former Pirate reliever Seth Simmons (2008-11) as the all-time saves leader. The right-hander allowed a run (earned) on three hits in one inning of relief.
Zach Farmer (1-2) suffered the loss giving up all three runs (two earned) on three hits with three walks and a strikeout in five full innings. Tanner Tully tossed three scoreless frames with two strikeouts keeping the Buckeyes (7-3) in the contest.
For the 11th-straight game ECU fell behind early when Ohio State scored in the top of the first frame. Troy Kuhn tripled to start the contest sending a line drive to right field where Townsend tried to make a diving stab, but was unable to make the catch. Patrick Porter followed with the single to center for an early 1-0 advantage.
ECU responded with a pair of runs in the second taking a 2-1 lead, which they would never relinquish. Townsend and Luke Lowery laced back-to-back singles with one out before Ben Fultz loaded the bases when he reached on an error. Eric Tyler tied the game at one-all drawing a free pass for his first collegiate RBI. Kirk Morgan plated the go-ahead run when he reached on a fielder’s choice scoring Lowery.
The Buckeyes made things interesting in the ninth pulling within one, 3-2. Troy Montgomery doubled down the left field line off Reynolds to lead off the stanza and scored on Aaron Gretz’ RBI single through the right side. Craig Nenning followed with Ohio State’s third-straight base hit putting runners on the corners with no outs, before Tim Wetzel’s sac bunt put them both in scoring position. But Reynolds recorded two quick outs leaving the potential go-ahead run stranded on second base to end the contest.
The Pirates will hit the road for a midweek contest at UNC Greensboro on Wednesday, Mar. 5 before returning home to open Conference USA action against Marshall (Mar. 7-9).