#25 ECU Tops #11 NC State 6-5

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Philip Clark laced a go-ahead RBI single to right field in the bottom of the sixth to break a four-all tie and No. 25 East Carolina (15-4) held off a late rally by No. 11 N.C. State (15-4) on Tuesday night to claim a 6-5 victory at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

After relieving freshman Jeff Hoffman, who made his first career start, junior Andy Smithmyer (2-0) threw three scoreless innings of relief allowing just one hit while fanning five batters earning his second win of the season out of the bullpen. Drew Reynolds preserved the victory for the Pirates posting his team and Conference USA-best seventh save.

With the score knotted at four in the sixth, Tim Younger led off the stanza with a double down the right-field line just outside the reach of a diving Andrew Ciencin. After Ben Fultz flied out to center field for the first out of the inning, Jack Reinheimer reached on a fielder’s choice sacrifice bunt. Wolfpack pitcher D.J. Thomas fielded the ball toward the third-base line and fired it over to third in an attempt to retire Younger, but ECU’s senior second baseman beat the throw to the bag giving the Pirates runners at first and third with just one out.

Clark hit a frozen rope over Matt Bergquist’s head at second base that scored Younger and put ECU in front, 5-4. Danny Healey relieved Thomas following Clark’s base knock and walked the first batter he faced, senior Corey Thompson. He then threw a wild pitch during John Wooten’s at-bat, which allowed Reinheimer to cross home and give the Pirates a two-run cushion.

Healey and Chris Overman combined to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings for The Pack surrendering just two hits and walking three while striking out a pair.

East Carolina had runners on second and third with just one out after taking the 6-4 lead, but N.C. State prevented further damage by putting out Clark on a rundown between third and home before Heatley struck out Reynolds to keep the Wolfpack within striking distance.

It looked as if N.C. State would cut into the Pirates’ lead in the top-half of the seventh. Trea Turner – who swiped two bags moving his nation-leading total to 21 – singled up the middle on a 1-0 offering from Smithmyer to lead off the inning. Brett Austin drew a walk to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Smithmyer responded by promptly striking out Ciencin and Danny Canela. The junior college transfer got out of the jam by inducing a harmless grounder to Tim Younger off the bat of Chris Diaz.

Smithmyer saved his best work for the last three batters. With the Wolfpack still down by a pair of runs, the diminutive righty struck out Ryan Mathews, Tarran Senay and John Gianis in order before handing the ball over to Reynolds.

Reynolds retired Carlos Rodon on a chopper to Younger to begin the ninth. Once again, Turner and Austin each reached base to put the tying run on the base paths for the visitors. Ciencin hit a high chopper to Reinheimer at short who flipped to Younger for the force out. The second baseman’s throw to retire Ciencin on a double play trickled away from Wooten and Turner came around the score, which cut the Pirates’ lead to one.

Reynolds buckled down and retired Canela on a deep fly ball to Jay Cannon on the warning track in left center to end the game. The Cherryville, N.C., native finished allowing one run (earned) on one hit.

Thomas (0-1) suffered the loss on the mound for the Wolfpack yielding two runs (both earned) on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.

East Carolina fell behind early after Hoffman allowed four consecutive hits (three for extra-bases) to begin the second. Canela doubled and scored on a run-scoring single by Diaz before Mathews extended the lead with a towering, two-run blast to left to stake N.C. State to a 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, Bergquist walked to put runners at first and second with one out, but Hoffman responded admirably by retiring the next two batters and escaping the second with just a three-run deficit.

East Carolina evened the score in the third with a trio of two-out runs. Wooten ripped an RBI single to left before Reynolds smacked a two-run double to the gap in right-center to tie the score at three.

The Pirates grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fourth after Ben Fultz scored from second base on a Clark infield single up the middle. Bergquist fielded the chopper behind the second base bag and Fultz never stopped running as Canela was unable to handle the throw at the plate giving the Pirates a 4-3 edge.

N.C. State starter Ryan Wilkins was chased with two outs in the fourth. The junior righty was touched for four runs (all earned) on five hits in 3 2/3 stanzas. He walked one and struck out four.

The Wolfpack answered this time by plating an unearned run in the fifth tying the game at four. Canela lined a base hit off Hoffman’s leg scoring Turner.

Hoffman threw a career-high five innings allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while issuing one free pass and striking out a pair.

Sophomore classmates Fultz, Reinheimer and Reynolds each collected two hits on the evening. Reynolds drove in a pair while Fultz and Reinheimer combined to score four of ECU’s six runs. Clark was the only other Pirate to notch a multi-hit performance as he finished 2-for-4, a mark which raised his season batting average to an impressive .344.

The Pirates hit the road on Wednesday for a non-conference matchup against Big South Conference member High Point before traveling to Orlando this weekend for their Conference USA opener with UCF.

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  • by cww Location: there and back again on Mar 23, 2012 at 03:28 PM
    Great win! Go Pirates!!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 03:35 PM
    Ho hum, is it still college baseball season? Does anybody even care about this dead sport?
    • reply
      by REM on Mar 21, 2012 at 05:39 PM in reply to
      It's a popular sport with the least amount of thugs and corruption, so yeah I guess it's not popular with the new generation.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM in reply to
      ... types the person that professes indifference on a web-site that contains hundreds of stories. Have you ever heard the phrase "me thinks the lady protest too much"?...
    • reply
      by Sam on Mar 22, 2012 at 06:47 PM in reply to
      Anonymous, college baseball is way better to watch than college basketball. Right now I'm flipping between the Florida-South Carolina baseball game and the Yankees-Red Sox game whereas I'm pulling diehard for my Yankees. College basketball is a joke compared to college baseball.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Mar 21, 2012 at 01:26 PM
    I'm glad the Pirates beat N.C. State. I couldn't come to Greenville to watch the game but heard from a few friends who went and said it was a great game. Hopefully State can put this behind and sweep UNC this weekend! Way to go Pirates!
  • by Is ECU on Mar 21, 2012 at 07:28 AM
    still open.... With all of the crime I thought that place had been shut down.
    • reply
      by REM on Mar 21, 2012 at 09:17 AM in reply to Is ECU
      Awe, did your undergrad application get denied? Sorry :(
      • reply
        by World Champion on Mar 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM in reply to REM
        The closest he has been to his favorite school was when he bought their gear at walmart.
    • reply
      by SamIam on Mar 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM in reply to Is ECU
      Awe, is someone upset today?
  • by pirate/hawk Location: G-vegas on Mar 21, 2012 at 06:47 AM
    Nice job nation, keep it up. I give credit where credit is due State is a good team, thier ranking proves it I have a feeling that his is going to be a great season for the PURPLE NATION. AARRGGHH..
  • by PIP on Mar 21, 2012 at 04:56 AM
    Paint it Purple!!
  • by samIam on Mar 21, 2012 at 04:41 AM
    This was an excellent game played by two quality in-state rivals. Umpiring was questionable, especially the 1st base ump. Though both teams fell victim to poor calls ECU was on the short end of the stick for the majority of them. That being said both teams fought hard and made it a dogfight till the end. Great win Pirates! Lets enjoy the win but focus on our game today then our first conference series of the season! Good Luck State, till we meet again.
  • by Ya see... on Mar 21, 2012 at 12:30 AM
    Now why doesn't this carry the same weight as the other way around? Why is it that ECU doesn't get credit when credit is due? No matter what they do, they'll only get a half credit and even then, it's got negative sentement? Seems if they have a good program, they should be respected, highly.
    • reply
      by World Champion on Mar 21, 2012 at 06:53 AM in reply to Ya see...
      I can tell you why, its because WITN is a supporter and fan of the ACC not sure why they even bother with ECU sports.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 08:14 AM in reply to Ya see...
      Who said it didnt carry the same weight? I dont think anyone understands your comment...
      • reply
        by Fred on Mar 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM in reply to
        I undertand the comment completely. If state had beaten ECU it would have been in the headlines not only on the sports page.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 01:00 PM in reply to Fred
          It is on the headline page...it was posted last night at 11:22PM ON THE HEADLINES PAGE. It is not the school that makes ECU look bad it is the dumb, uninformed comments made by all of the fans...
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM in reply to Fred
          Be assured that there is an ever growing sentiment amongst ECU faithful that WITN has sold its journalistic integrity and ECU down the river all for cheap web-site traffic. Many would like the ECU/WITN contract to end ASAP. I realize that there is a bidding process, and yes money talks, but ECU must know that money comes in from many sources and not solely from WITN. Many of us give generously to ECU and any good-will that we held for WITN vanished a long time ago. We hold WITN in poor regard.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2012 at 01:38 PM in reply to Fred
          And it was on the headlines and not just the sports section...so ONCE AGAIN who is saying it doesnt carry the same weight? You are the only one, paranoid much?
        • reply
          by Steve on Mar 21, 2012 at 03:54 PM in reply to Fred
          What Anonymous at 4:00pm and 4:38pm do not understand is that the discontent amongst the ECU faithful is not over where a single headline may or may not be placed on this site. The disgust with WITN runs a whole lot deeper and is based on far more egregious examples than that. The natives are getting very restless with WITN and they are biting the hand that, in some part (not entirely, but not in minor fashion), feeds them. So, you two may point out the original error, but it does not negate the point.

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