NORFOLK, Va. - In a back-and-forth game that was tied at four in the fifth inning, No. 20 East Carolina (4-0) scored six runs over the final four frames to pull away from Old Dominion (2-2) Wednesday afternoon at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.
With the game knotted at four, John Wooten put the Pirates ahead for good when he belted his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field, giving ECU a 6-4 advantage. Chase McDonald, who was plunked by Erick Baker, scored ahead of Wooten.
Junior Andy Smithmyer (1-0) picked up his first win of the season allowing one run on four hits in three innings of relief with four strikeouts. Starter Joseph Hughes was touched for three runs (all earned) on four hits win three innings, while Tanner Merritt (two innings) and D.J. Jauss (one inning) tossed scoreless frames.
Baker (1-1) suffered the loss giving up two runs (both earned) on one hit with two walks in two-thirds of an inning. C.J. Huyett was stellar in his first start of the year for the Monarchs through the first four frames, but was unable to get out of the fifth where he allowed two runs. In all, Huyett gave up four runs (all earned) on four hits with four punch outs in 4.2 innings. After Baker exited the game in the fifth, ODU used five more arms to close out the contest.
The Pirates struck early when Corey Thompson belted his first homer of the season, a solo shot to right center, for a 1-0 lead.
ODU tied the game at one in the bottom of the second frame when Chris Baker scored on Brent Frazier’s groundout double play. Baker walked to start the stanza and took third on Josh Tutwiler’s single up the middle.
Tim Younger’s ground out RBI in the top of the third put ECU back on top, 2-1. Ben Fultz tripled to lead off the third sending a shot over the center fielder’s head and trotted home on Younger’s ground out to second.
The see-saw affair continued in bottom half of the third when Josh Wright deposited a two-run shot down the left field line off of Hughes for a 3-2 ODU lead. With two outs, Drew Coker drew a walk and came around on Wright’s second home run of the season, a shot that hit off the top of the wall down the line.
In the fifth ECU regained the lead, 3-2, when Jack Reinheimer blasted his second round tripper of the year. Younger reached on double down the right field line with two outs and Reinheimer flexed his muscles sending a towering shot to left field clearing the bases.
Josh Wright tied the game at four in the bottom of the fifth on a Smithmyer wild pitch. Wright, who homered in his previous at-bat, reached on a ground-rule double down the left field line, stole third during Joey Burney’s at-bat and strolled home on the Pirate miscue.
After taking the lead on Wooten’s home run in the sixth, ECU tacked on four runs in the ninth putting the game out of reach. The Pirates were able to bat around taking advantage of an ODU error and pieced together five hits for a 10-4 victory.
The Pirates will be back in action this weekend when they play host Purdue on Friday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. in the Ninth Annual LeClair Classic.