GREENVILLE, N.C. - No. 24 East Carolina (26-11-1) used an eight-run sixth inning and a 16-hit barrage to run away from William & Mary (24-16) on Wednesday night, earning a 13-4 non-conference victory at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Tribe took an early two-run lead after plating a pair of runs in the opening frame against ECU starter Deshorn Lake (2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB), who recorded just two outs before being lifted for junior right-hander Andy Smithmyer.
A junior college transfer from Potomac State, Smithmyer (3-2) prevented further damage in the first by retiring Josh Smith on a fly ball to right. He fired six scoreless innings while striking out eight – both career-highs – lowering his ERA to a team-best 1.49 before handing the ball over to southpaw Jake Harris with two outs in the seventh. William & Mary could only muster four hits off Smithmyer and managed to reach second base just twice during his six frames of work.
After the Pirates knotted the game at two apiece in the bottom of the fifth; they would break the deadlock by sending 11 batters to the plate during the sixth frame outburst. Jay Cannon and Chase McDonald laced consecutive singles to begin the stanza, putting runners at first and third with nobody out. Ben Fultz executed a safety squeeze, sacrifice bunt to perfection, scoring Cannon for the inning’s first run. Following a Mike Ussery strikeout, Sam King roped a run-scoring single into left to stake ECU to a 4-2 lead.
Jack Reinheimer added another single to keep the inning alive and Drew Reynolds followed by notching his second base knock of the evening, this one scoring King and extending ECU’s advantage to 5-2. Corey Thompson then drew a walk to load the bases for John Wooten. Wooten and Cannon followed with grounders to William & Mary shortstop Josh Mason, who misplayed both, allowing Reinheimer, Reynolds and Thompson to score. McDonald capped the explosion with a two-run single through the left side. It was the Greenville, N.C., native’s second hit of the frame, while Cannon crossed home twice during the decisive sixth-inning explosion.
William & Mary lefty starter Matt Wainman (3-4) was touched for five runs (four earned) on 10 hits while striking out four before being replaced by righty Chris Yates.
Yates yielded five runs (all unearned) in the sixth, while allowing three hits and walking one before recording the final out of the stanza, a pickoff play that nailed McDonald at second base.
The Pirates pushed their lead to double digits an inning later off Tribe reliever Ryan Williams (IP, 2 H, 2 R, K). Reynolds collected an RBI single – his third and final hit of the night – in the two-run seventh, while Reinheimer also scored after a passed ball to give ECU a 12-2 edge. It was Reynolds’ second consecutive contest recording a trio of base knocks.
William & Mary trimmed its deficit to 12-3 in the eighth after Michael Katz delivered an RBI single into left field, scoring Ryan Lindemuth, who had reached first with a two-out hit and taken second on a wild pitch.
Harris surrendered the Tribe’s eighth-inning score and finished the night allowing one run (earned) on two hits in 1 1/3 frames.
The Pirates plated their 13th and final run in the eighth against the Tribe’s fourth pitcher of the tilt, John Sheehan (IP, H, ER). Pinch-hitter Chris Gosik was drilled by a pitch to lead off the inning and took third after Philip Clark roped a double to right. Gosik later scored on Ussery’s RBI groundout.
William & Mary capped the scoring with one run in the ninth as Josh Smith welcomed reliever Drew Reynolds with a solo home run over the wall in left. Reynolds retired the next three batters in order to secure the Pirates’ 13-4 triumph.
East Carolina enjoyed multi-hit performances from five different players, including a trio of base knocks by Reinheimer (three runs), Reynolds (two RBIs), and Thompson. King - who got the starting nod after Zach Wright was rested after being hit by a pitch on the elbow against UNC Wilmington – added a pair of singles and scored three runs while driving in one. McDonald also contributed two hits, both coming in the sixth.
ECU returns to the diamond Friday, April 20 as it travels to Houston for a critical Conference USA series against Rice. The opening game of the three-game set is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (EST) first pitch. The Pirates trail Rice and UCF by a half-game in the league standings.