GREENVILLE, N.C. - For the second-straight game, No. 25 East Carolina (13-4) scored in its last at-bat, this time in the bottom of the 10th on Philip Clark’s infield single and a error by Penn State (3-13) that plated Zach Wright for a 6-5 win at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium Saturday afternoon.
With the game knotted at five, Wright walked and took second on Jay Cannon’s sac bunt before Clark hit a high chopper to second base where he forced Luis Montesinos to make a quick throw, which sailed over Jordan Steranka’s head at first scoring Wright for the walk-off win.
Trailing by four going to the ninth, ECU scored four runs with two outs thanks to back-to-back home runs from Corey Thompson and John Wooten to send the game in to extra innings. Jonathan Holt drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a Casey Kulina wild pitch. Bryan Bass followed with a single to right putting runners on the corners for Tim Younger, who struck out setting up the bottom of the ninth heroics. Thompson deposited a 1-2 offering off the top of the wall in left center pulling ECU within one, 5-4. Wooten then cranked his third home run on a full count sending a laser shot down the left field line tying the game at five.
Sophomore Tanner Merritt (2-1) picked up the win working two-thirds of an inning in relief. Starter Tyler Joyner went eight innings allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits with two walks and tied his career-high with seven strikeouts. Reliever Andy Smithmyer and Dario Santangelo bridged the gap to Merritt each tossing two-thirds of an inning.
Walking (0-1) suffered the loss in his second outing of the season recording one out before the Pirates walk-off win. Right-hander John Walter was efficient in his start scattering five hits over 7.1 innings allowing one run (earned) with three walks and four punch outs. Greg Welsh allowed a run on one hit in two-thirds of an inning and Kulina was touched for three runs in the ninth in his two-thirds of work.
Penn State used a pair of RBI doubles from JC Coban and Sean Deegan to take an early 2-0 lead in the third inning. Zach Ell started the stanza with a walk and came around to score on Coban’s first hit of the afternoon. With two outs, Deegan laced a double off the left field wall plating Coban.
ECU finally got on the board in the fourth on Cannon’s infield single to third pulling ECU within one, 2-1. Drew Reynolds doubled down the right field line with one out and trotted home Cannon’s line drive that hit off the tip of Joey DeBernardis’ glove at third.
Coban single-handedly helped the Nittany Lions take a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning. After a two-run homer in the seventh pushed the scored to 4-1, Coban tripled to right center on a ball that was just out of the reach of Cannon scoring Tyler Skerpon in the eighth. Coban, who was 3-for-4 on the day with four RBI and two runs scored, was a single shy of hitting for the cycle.
Offensively for the Pirates Bass, Reynolds and Thompson each had two hits, while Thompson led the club with three RBI.
The Pirates will look for their fourth weekend sweep of the season when they host Penn State in the final game of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (EST).