GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina (14-11) pounded out a season-high 20 hits with all nine starters posting at least one as the Pirates cruised to a 12-5 win over N.C. Central (9-14-1) in midweek action Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Of the nine positional starters, seven recorded multiple hits with Luke Lowery leading the way with a 4-for-4 performance. He also scored a run in the first inning stealing home. Bryce Harman had a career night going 3-for-4 with five RBI and Ben Fultz continued his hot hitting with a 3-for-5 contest with three RBI, which extended his consecutive games streak with at least one RBI to six.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, ECU sent nine batters to the plate scoring four runs and never looked back. Consecutive base hits from Dylan Brown and Drew Reynolds set up the Pirates first score of the night. Fultz stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on the corners delivering a single to left center that pushed across Brown. Lowery followed with a walk loading the bases for Harman, who roped a single to right field scoring Reynolds and Fultz. During Charlie Yorgen’s at-bat, ECU executed a double steal with Harman taking second and Lowery crossing home making it a 4-1 game.
Tyler Bolton (1-2) picked up his first career win in the Purple and Gold working three innings on a predetermined pitch count. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with a pair of walk and two strikeouts. From that point on, ECU used plenty of hurlers from its pen getting some much-needed work to a bunch of young guys. Hayden White tossed two scoreless frames with four strikeouts, three of them coming in the fourth stanza.
A trio of freshmen in Luke Bolka (run, two strikeouts), Davis Kirkpatrick (hit) and Evan Kruczynski (two runs, strikeout) worked the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, while Brandon Taylor (strikeout) and James Gray (strikeout) combined to pitch a perfect ninth.
N.C. Central starter Dylan Beiland (0-2) took the loss going one full frame where he was touched for nine runs (all earned) on nine hits with a pair of walks. Eric Kimber tossed 2.1 innings of relief allowing three runs (all earned) on eight hits, while Jacob Russell (2.2 IP) and Grant Cain (2.0 IP) scattered three hits over the final 4.2 frames.
Tyson Simpson staked the Eagles to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single up the middle that scored Zack Lee from second. Lee doubled to left field on the first pitch of the game and came strolling home two batters later on Simpson’s lone hit of the night.
Leading 4-1 in the second, the Pirates batted around sending 11 guys to the plate where the scored five runs on seven hits, extending the lead to 9-1. The first eight Pirates reached base via a single or a walk and the frame was highlighted by Fultz’ two-RBI base hit to left center pushing across Reynolds and Zach Houchins. After an Eagle pitching change, Lowery loaded the bases with his second knock of the contest to center setting up Harman’s two-RBI single to right center.
An RBI sacrifice fly by Bryan Battle plated Carlos Ortiz in the third putting the score at 9-2. But ECU responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame, which was highlighted by RBI base knocks from Harman, Yorgen and Hunter Allen.
N.C. Central scored a run in the sixth and a pair in the eighth capping the night at 12-5.
Offensively ECU did not have an extra base hit in the contest lacing 20 singles, the most hits in a game since March 16, 2013 in a 16-9 victory at Jacksonville. The Pirate hurlers combined to punch out 11 batters the most since fanning 18 against Western Kentucky in this year’s Keith LeClair Classic.
ECU will return to action this weekend when it plays host to UMBC Friday, Mar. 28 in the first of three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET).