GREENVILLE, N.C. – David Lucroy struck out a career-high nine batters, while Jack Reinheimer and Travis Watkins drove in multiple runs helping East Carolina complete a three-game sweep over St. John’s Sunday afternoon, 7-3, at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 6-4, while the Red Storm drops to 1-10.
ECU jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the second inning thanks to five two-out hits and never looked back. Philip Clark reached on an infield single to short, Zach Houchins singled to center and Garrett Brooks walked to load the bases. Watkins laced the first of his two base hits with a two-RBI single through the right side staking the Pirates to a 2-0 lead. Bryan Bass extended his hit streak to 11 games with a base knock to left that plated Brooks and Reinheimer cleared the bases with a two-RBI double down the left field line pushing across Watkins and Bass.
Lucroy (1-1) recorded his first collegiate win in an impressive maner allowing two runs on two hits with three walks to go with his nine punch outs. The redshirt freshman fanned at least one batter in six of the seven innings he started and had multiple strikeouts in the first, fifth and sixth frames. Jake Harris notched his first save of the season (third career) allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits with a pair of strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.
Ryan McCormick (0-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Alex Katz surrendered one run on one hit in 1.1 frames, while Jerome Werniuk gave up one run (unearned) walking the lone Pirate he faced. Anthony Cervone (0.2 IP) and Thomas Hackimer (1.1) tossed the final two scoreless frames for the Red Storm.
Reinheimer extended the Pirates lead in the sixth on a sac fly scoring Brooks, who led off the frame with a walk. Watkins singled through the left side moving Brooks over to second and Bass ground out pushing the both runners into scoring position. Reinheimer took a 1-1 offering from Katz sending a long fly ball to center for his third RBI of the afternoon.
St. John’s finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh scoring three runs and pulling within three, 6-3. Danny Bethea walked to start the stanza and took second on a Lucroy balk. Sean O’Hara followed with a one-out walk before Jimmy Brennan entered the game as a pinch hitter. After the Pirates brought in the left-hander Harris, Brennan singled to left center scoring Bethea and Ty Blankmeyer followed with a sac bunt back to the mound pushing across O’Hare. The Red Storm scored their final run of the game when Martin Kelly lined a 0-2 offering back up the middle plating Brennan.
The Pirates responded with a run in the bottom half of the seventh extending their lead to four, 7-3. Chase McDonald reached on a fielding error by Dustin Breshears at short and moved over to second on Dylan Brown’s walk. Both runners advanced 90 feet on Clark’s sac bunt and McDonald strolled home on Houchins sac fly to center for the game’s final run.
For the third-straight game ECU out hit St. John’s, 9-3 with eight of its starters recording at least one hit. Watkins led the Pirates with a 2-for-3 performance notching his third multi-hit game of the season.
ECU will be back on the diamond Tuesday, Mar. 5 when it plays host to UNCG at 5 p.m. (EST).