GREENVILLE, N.C. - No. 25 East Carolina (14-4) scored four runs in the seventh inning to come from behind and complete its series weekend sweep over Penn State (3-14), 7-4 Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Trailing 4-2 going to the bottom half of the seventh, ECU drew six walks and John Wooten reached on an infield bunt single back to the pitcher to take a 6-4 lead in game three of the weekend series. Penn State reliever Cody Lewis entered the game in the seventh and promptly walked Philip Clark and Corey Thompson before Wooten loaded the bases with a bunt single back to the mound. Drew Reynolds followed with an RBI ground out to second scoring Clark to pull ECU with in one at 4-3.
After Zach Wright struck out with runners on second and third, Thompson scored on a wild pitch knotting the game at four. Jay Cannon received the third free pass of the stanza and the Nittany Lions immediately changed pitchers bringing in Evan Dixon. The right-hander didn’t fare any better as he walked Jack Reinheimer on four-straight pitches loading the bases for Tim Younger, who also drew a walk that scored Wooten for the game-winning run. Penn State changed hurlers again and Neal Herring walked Bryan Bass pushing across Cannon for the final run of the seventh and a 6-4 ECU lead.
Jharel Cotton (4-0) picked up the win scattering seven hits over seven full innings. The junior college transfer from Miami Dade allowed four runs (one earned) and recorded four punch outs in his third quality start of the season. Underclassmen Austin Chrismon and Drew Reynolds each tossed perfect innings of relief and Reynolds notched his team-leading sixth save.
Lewis (1-4) was saddled with the loss allowing four runs on one hit with three walks and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. Starter Steven Hill kept the Pirates at bay surrendering just two runs (both earned) on nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts in six innings. Dixon faced two batters without recording an out and Herring allowed one run (earned) in 1 1/3 innings.
Penn State took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on Elliot Searer’s double down the left field line that plated Zach Ell from second after he led off the frame with a single back up the middle.
Four consecutive singles in the third led to a pair of runs for the Pirates giving them a 2-1 advantage. Younger singled up the middle, which was followed by an infield single by Bass, an RBI single by Clark through the right side and an RBI single by Thompson through the left side.
The Nittany Lions responded in the top half of the fourth scoring three runs on three hits and a pair of Pirate errors. Aaron Novak singled to right field and landed on third when Ell reached on a throwing error by Cotton during his sacrifice bunt attempt. Novak scored when Reinheimer through the ball away during a run down, tying the game at two. Ell tagged up and took third on JC Coban’s fly ball to center and scored when Searer reached on an infield single. Sean Deegan capped the inning when he doubled to left center plating Searer and regaining the lead for Penn State at 4-2.
After taking the lead in the seventh, ECU added an insurance run in the eighth on Wright’s RBI double to left field scoring Thompson.
ECU will be back in action on Tuesday, Mar. 20 when they play host to No. 23 North Carolina State at 6 p.m. (EST).