ECU Clinches Series Against St. John's

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Ryan Williams worked eight solid innings, while Bryan Bass and Luke Lowery each collected three hits pacing East Carolina to a series win over St. John’s, 8-1, Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 5-4, while the Red Storm drops to 1-9.

The Pirates jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and really never looked back. Bass singled on the first pitch of the stanza sending a shot back up the middle, Jack Reinheimer walked and Drew Reynolds loaded the bases when he reached on a bunt single to third. Chase McDonald drove in his team leading eighth run of the year on a sac fly to right field plating Bass. Nick Thompson followed when he reached on a fielder’s choice scoring Reinheimer for the second run of the stanza.

Williams, who improved to 2-0 on the season, was again effective in his outing allowing just one run (earned) on seven hits with one strikeout. The junior college transfer from West Valley College recorded seven fly ball and13 groundouts and retired the side in order in five of his eight innings. Andy Smithmyer tossed a scoreless ninth allowing a hit and striking out one.

Sean Hagan (1-2) was saddled with the loss surrendering all eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in 5.1 innings with a pair of walks and one strikeout. Lefty Joey Graziano tossed 2.2 scoreless frames in relief giving up three hits.

The Red Storm had a prime opportunity to cut into the Pirates lead in the top of the second when Frank Schwindel (single) and Danny Bethea (double) collected back-to-back base hits through the left side to start the inning. Williams retired Sean O’Hare on a grounder to third, got Kyle Lombardo to pop out to short and fanned Dustin Breshears leaving the runners stranded at second and third.

ECU added a run in the second extending its lead to 3-0 when Lowery scored on Bass’ sac bunt down the third base line. Lowery, who made his first collegiate start behind the plate, tripled to left center with one out and darted home on Bass’ well-placed safety squeeze.

Zach Lauricella finally put St. John’s on the board with an RBI double in the sixth pulling within two, 3-1. Martin Kelly singled through the left side and took second on Pat Talbut’s ground out to third. Lauricella followed with a double down the left field line scoring Kelly easily from second.

In the sixth, the Pirates blew the game wide open scoring five runs on six hits and taking a commanding 8-1 lead. Thompson singled through the left side but was forced out at second on Dylan Brown’s fielder’s choice. Houchins followed with a double and Philip Clark singled up the middle scoring both Brown and Houchins.

The sixth continued when Lowery reached base for the third time in the contest, this time with another single through the left side, before Bass reached on an infield single to third loading the bases with one out. Reinheimer sent an easy double play ball to Ty Blankmeyer at second, but the freshman couldn’t make a play and Clark scored easily making it a 6-1 ball game. Reynolds stepped to the plate and delivered a two RBI single to left center pushing across both Lowery and Bass and capping the scoring at 8-1.

ECU reached double-digit hits for the second-straight game and sixth time this season outhitting St. John’s 13-8. Reynolds joined Bass and Lowery with multiple hits, while Clark and Reynolds both drove in multiple runs.

The Pirates will go for the weekend sweep when they close out the series with the Red Storm on Sunday, Mar. 3 at 1 p.m. (EST).