RICHMOND, Va. - East Carolina scored 12 unanswered runs from the fourth to the eighth innings to come from behind and defeat VMI 14-8 in game one of the 2012 Terry Sisisky Classic Friday afternoon at The Diamond.
Trailing 6-2, ECU (34-19-1) scored three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth to erase a four-run deficit and go ahead 7-6, a lead they would not relinquish. With the bases loaded and no outs, Mike Ussery plated the first run of the fourth frame for the Pirates when he drew a walk scoring Chase McDonald. Tim Younger followed with an infield single to first that plated Jack Reinheimer and Bryan Bass scored when pinch hitter Nick Thompson grounded into double play, pulling ECU within one, 6-5.
Corey Thompson’s double to right center scored Zach Wright, who singled to start the fifth. McDonald followed with his second free pass of the day before Reinheimer’s double play ground out that moved Corey Thompson to third. Bass’ second hit of four hits on the afternoon pushed Thompson across for the Pirates second lead of the game.
Andy Smithmyer (5-2) picked up the win in relief for the Pirates after entering the game to start the fifth. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit in 4 1/3 innings, but a hit batters with the bases loaded scored two runs in the ninth for VMI. He fanned six and walked three in his 18th appearance out of the bullpen. Starter Jeff Hoffman lasted four frames after allowing six runs (all earned) on four hits with seven strikeouts and three walks. After allowing a double to start the game, Hoffman retired the next nine batters – five via strikeout – before running into trouble in the fourth. Freshman Dylan Dickens closed out the game recording the final two out of the ninth
VMI’s Coby Cowgill (5-5) suffered the loss after being touched for seven runs (all earned) on nine hits in four innings. Michael Devine was touched for three runs in 1 2/3 frames, while Andrew Deal and Miles McQuaig combined to allow four runs over the final 2 1/3 innings.
Wooten put the Pirates up 2-0 early on a sac fly to center in the first that scored Younger and a single back up the middle that pushed across Ussery in the third.
VMI (15-36) scored six runs in the fourth taking a 6-3 lead. George Piccirilli reached first after being hit by a Hoffman pitch to start the inning and Jacob Morley blasted his 11th home run of the season sending a shot over the wall in left center. With two outs, the Keydets tacked on four more runs courtesy of a bases loaded walk and a bases clearing double by Rob Dickinson.
Three runs in the sixth extended ECU’s lead to 10-6. Nick Thompson walked to start the frame, John Wooten singled through the left side and Wright loaded the bases with another walk. Corey Thompson stepped into the box and stroked his second two-base hit of the contest down the left field line scoring Nick Thompson and Wooten. Wright would touch home when McDonald reached on a fielder’s choice to third to cap the stanza.
The Pirates would score three runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to take a 14-6 lead heading into the ninth frame. Corey Thompson drove in his fourth run of the day when he reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Nick Thompson. McDonald, who added a pair of hits with his two walks, doubled down the left field line clearing the bases and scoring Wright and Corey Thompson.
Ben Fultz’ ground out to second scored the Pirates final run pushing across Bass, who tripled to right center to start the eighth.
After falling behind in the top of the fourth, ECU scored 12 runs on 14 hits over the next four innings and finished the contest with 18 hits. Bass recorded a career-best four base knocks, while Wooten added three and a quartet of Pirates (McDonald, Reinheimer, Thompson and Younger) each had a pair of hits.
ECU will close out the 2012 regular season when the square-off against VCU Saturday, May 19 with a 2 p.m. (ET) first scheduled.