GREENVILLE, N.C. - Old Dominion (12-21) scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth inning and withstood an East Carolina (23-9-1) rally in the bottom half of the frame to claim a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the game tied at two, Chris Baker reached on an infield single to spark the Monarch rally. Josh Tutwiler failed to advance Baker to third as he popped out to catcher Zach Wright on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Pirate reliever Andy Smithmyer then struck out pinch-hitter Donald Engler, leaving ODU with a runner on second and two outs. Brent Frazier followed by drawing a walk. Smithmyer induced a pop-up on the infield off the bat of Shawn Sizemore, but third baseman Corey Thompson wasn't able to make the catch, allowing Baker to score the go-ahead run and stake the Monarchs to a 3-2 advantage. Tanner Merritt recorded the final out of the inning for the Pirates, picking off Sizemore at first.
Zach Wright led off the bottom of the ninth stanza with a single up the middle off ODU closer Dean Ali for his second hit of the night. Bryan Bass struck out looking after failing to execute a sacrifice bunt early in his at-bat. Jack Reinheimer followed with a screaming shot to second base, which caromed off the chest of Brandon Shelton, putting runners at first and second for the Pirates with just one out. Philip Clark then reached on a fielder's choice as Ali fielded the chopper in front of the mound and fired to second for the force out. Pinch-hitter Nick Thompson stepped to the plate and flied out to right field for the final out, securing the win for the Monarchs.
Brandon Smith (5-1) earned the win for Old Dominion, tossing three scoreless innings of relief while walking just one and striking out a trio of Pirates. Ali was credited with the save, his first of the season. Starter Greg Tomchick scattered a pair of hits over three frames, while Dylan Bratton surrendered both Pirate runs in two innings of work.
Old Dominion seized a 2-0 advantage in the top of the third against ECU starter DeShorn Lake. Brandon Shelton singled to begin the frame and later scored on Josh Wright's two-run home run just inside the left field foul pole. Lake lasted 2 1/3 innings, yielding five hits and two runs (both earned) while striking out a pair in his first collegiate start.
The Pirates knotted the score at two in the bottom of the fourth. Wright delivered a two-out single and Bass followed by drawing a walk, moving Wright to second. Both runners scored after Reinheimer produced a two-out triple to center field, which fell in between three Monarch defenders and bounced into center far enough for the sophomore shortstop to take third.
Jake Harris kept Old Dominion off the scoreboard in 4 1/3 innings while not allowing a hit and issuing just one free pass. Smithmyer (2-2) suffered the loss, surrendering one unearned run on one hit while walking one and striking out three in two innings of work.
Reinheimer and Wright combined for four of ECU's six hits each recording multi-hit games. Sophomore Drew Reynolds saw his 11-game hit streak come to an end as the Cherryville, N.C. native went 0-for-4 at the plate.
No. 24 East Carolina returns to the diamond Friday, Apr. 13 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) when they travel to Memphis for a three-game Conference USA tilt. Senior lefty Kevin Brandt (4-2, 1.98 ERA) will square off against Tiger right-hander Dan Langfield (5-3, 2.96 ERA).