GREENVILLE, N.C. – Seniors Bryan Bass and Jay Cannon each collected a pair of hits to help East Carolina (3-3) to a 5-1 victory over New Mexico State (3-4) Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium on the final day of the 10th Annual Keith LeClair Classic.
The Pirates used a four-run sixth inning to overcome a 1-0 deficit and picked up their third-straight win of the season after dropping the first three contests of the year. With one out in the frame, Bass and Jack Reinheimer roped a pair of two-strike singles down the right field line to put runners on the corners for Drew Reynolds. The junior designated hitter lifted a 2-1 offering from Michael Ormseth to left field for what seemed to be a sac fly, but Michael Paulson couldn’t hold on to the ball allowing Bass to score easily and Reynolds to reach base on an error. Chase McDonald followed with a single to left center scoring Reinheimer and Nick Thompson doubled down the left field line on his first pitch of the at-bat plating Reynolds. The final run of the stanza came on Cannon’s sac fly to center that pushed across McDonald for a 4-1 Pirate advantage.
Senior Andy Smithmyer (1-1) got the win in relief allowing one hit over two innings where he allowed one run (earned) with five walks and four strikeouts. Making his first collegiate start, right-hander David Lucroy was stellar scattering three hits over five scoreless frames with three walks and three punch outs. Freshman Nick Durazo made his first appearance in an ECU uniform recording one out and allowing a hit before handing the ball over to Reynolds, who tossed a scoreless 1.2 innings surrendering a pair of hits and fanning two for his second save of the season.
Ormseth (0-1) suffered the loss for the Aggies giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. Evan Mott retired two of the three batters he faced and Ryan Beck allowed one run (earned) on two hits closing out the bottom of the eighth.
After five scoreless innings, New Mexico State took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the sixth thanks to an RBI double by Kent Blackstone. Smithmyer entered the game for Lucroy and walked Robert Lecount before striking out Kyle Phillips. On the same play, Lecount was called out during the hit-and-run attempt because Phillips interfered with Travis Watkins throw attempt to second, clearing the bases and putting a pair of outs on the scoreboard. Paulson and Cody Edwards drew back-to-back two-out walks and Blackstone followed with a double to right field scoring Paulson for the game’s first run.
The Aggies, who left a total of 13 runners on base during the afternoon contest, had a prime opportunity to dig into the Pirates lead in the eighth frame. Lecount and Phillips walked to start the stanza before Durazo relieved Smithmyer on the bump. Quinton Mack stepped to the plate pinch-hitting for Paulson and sent a short fly ball to right field for the first out of the inning. Edwards followed with a single through the right side loading the bases for another Aggie pinch hitter, this time right-hander Jory Goldstrom. The Pirates countered with a pitching change setting up a righty-righty matchup with Reynolds toeing the rubber. Reynolds induced a grounder to Zach Houchins at third, who fired home to get Lecount for the second out of the inning. Derek Umphres stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and Reynolds again got the hitter to send a grounder Houchins’ way, who flipped the ball over to Bass at second for the force out, getting the Pirates out of frame.
ECU tacked on an insurance run in the eighth on Dylan Brown’s sac bunt to the pitcher that scored Garrett Brooks for a 5-1 lead. The inning started when Chris Gosik singled through the right side with one out as a pinch hitter and was immediately lifted for the speedy Brooks. Cannon followed with his second base knock of the day putting runners on the corners for Brown’s sac bunt.
The Pirates will be back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 26 when they continue their 13-game home stand hosting VCU at 5 p.m. (EST).