GREENVILLE, N.C. - No. 30 East Carolina (32-16-1) scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth on its way to a 4-1 victory over Elon (28-24) Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win, the Pirates complete the series sweep against the Phoenix and extend its current win streak to six games.
Andy Smithmyer (4-2) earned the win for the Pirates after pitching a career-best 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The junior college transfer allowed just four hits, while walking three and striking out five.
The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the sixth. Drew Reynolds led off the frame with a single up the middle. John Wooten singled through the left side with one out to put runners at first and second. Reynolds and Wooten advanced to second and third, respectively, on a wild pitch by Andrew MacDonald.
Zach Wright grounded out to shortstop with the infield drawn in for the second out of the inning. After falling behind to Jack Reinheimer in the count, 3-0, MacDonald intentionally walked Reinheimer, loading the bases for the Pirates. Elon replaced MacDonald with right-hander John Antonelli.
Antonelli walked pinch-hitter Nick Thompson, giving East Carolina a 1-0 advantage. Philip Clark and Ben Fultz drew consecutive bases loaded walks off of Antonelli giving the Pirates a 3-0 edge. Elon went to its bullpen again bringing in right-hander Jordan Darnell, whose wild pitch with the bases juiced scored Bryan Bass for the Pirates fourth and final run of the evening.
MacDonald (4-3) suffered the loss in his second start of the season. The southpaw surrendered three runs (all earned) on five hits, while walking two and striking out a pair in a career-high 5 2/3 frames.
Smithmyer shut down the Phoenix lineup until the seventh when he ran into some trouble. The right-hander walked three straight batters with two outs in the frame to load the bases before being replaced by redshirt sophomore Tanner Merritt.
Merritt struck out pinch-hitter Michael Elefante to escape the jam and preserve ECU’s 4-1 lead.
Elon scored once in the ninth – an RBI single by Quinn Bower - to pull within three, but was unable to get any closer as Merritt struck out Tyler McVicar with runners on second and third to end the game.
Merritt yielded just one unearned run in 2 1/3 innings and struck out four. It was his eighth save of the season, which ranks second on the team behind Reynolds (10).
Reynolds was the only Pirate with a multi-hit performance as the sophomore finished the night 2-for-4. In his last eight official at-bats, the Cherryville, N.C. native has registered six base knocks.
East Carolina returns to the diamond Wednesday, May 9 as it welcomes No. 8 North Carolina to Greenville. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EST).
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