ECU Splits Doubleheader To Claim Series Over Middle Tennessee

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Zach Houchins belted his second home run of the season, while East Carolina hurlers Tyler Bolton and Ryan Williams allowed one run in a 5-1 series win in game two of the Friday doubleheader against Middle Tennessee at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

The Pirates (24-16, 11-7), who picked up their fourth Conference USA series victory, dropped game one to the Blue Raiders (19-21, 9-9), 6-1 earlier in the day.

Houchins gave ECU a 3-0 lead in the third thanks to a three-run home run to left field in the third. Kirk Morgan drew a one-out walk and moved over to third two batters later when Drew Reynolds singled to right field. Houchins, who collected three hits in the contest, smacked his second round tripper of the season taking 2-2 offering from Johnathan Frebis over the left field wall.

Tyler Bolton (2-3) picked up the win in his eighth start scattering three hits over 5.2 scoreless innings. Ryan Williams notched his fifth save of the season allowing a run on three hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks in 3.1 frames.

Frebis (2-3) took the loss surrendering four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Matt Blackham gave up one run on two hits in 1.2 innings, while Heath Slatton tossed a scoreless eighth.

ECU extended its lead to 4-0 in the sixth when Bryce Harman crossed home on a wild pitch. Harman walked with one out, took second when Charlie Yorgen was hit by a pitch and landed on third on Garrett Brooks walk.

Another wild pitch from Slatton in the seventh pushed the Pirates lead to 5-0. Houchins singled up the middle with two outs and took third on Ian Townsend’s base knock to right field before crossing home on the throwing miscue during Harman’s at-bat.

Middle Tennessee finally got on the board when Austin Bryant scored on Jared Allen’s infield single making it a 5-1 contest. Bryant singled to left field to start the stanza a moved to second on Hank LaRue’s walk. Trent Miller reached on a fielder’s choice where LaRue was forced out at second allowing Bryant to take third. Allen followed with an infield base hit to third driving in Bryant to cap the scoring in the game.

The top four hitters in the Pirates lineup (Dylan Brown, Reynolds, Houchins and Townsend) accounted for seven of their hits with Houchins (three) and Reynolds (two) leading the way. Houchins drove in a season-high three runs, while scoring twice.

Game One Recap
Jared Allen hit two of Middle Tennessee’s three home runs in the first game of the doubleheader as the Blue Raiders picked up a 6-1 victory.

After being shutout and held to just five hits in the series opener, the Blue Raiders pounded out 12 hits behind Allen and Ryan Stephens three-hit performance. Leadoff hitter Dustin Delgado added two base hits and scored two runs.

Allen staked the Blue Raiders to an early 2-0 lead in the first belting his sixth homer of the season. Degaldo singled to right field before Allen deposited a Brett Mabry 2-1 offering over the left field wall, which proved to be the game-winning run.

Paul Mittura improved to 3-2 allowing one run on six hits with five punch-outs in seven full frames. Cody Tollison worked two perfect innings in relief retiring all six batters faced recording five fly ball outs.

Mabry suffered his first loss of the season falling to 3-1. The right-hander posted his second-straight quality start allowing three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in six innings. Hayden White was touched for three runs on three hits in an inning of relief, while Luke Bolka and David Lucroy each had scoreless frames.

Miller extended Middle Tennessee’s lead to 3-0 after hitting his fourth home run of the season to lead off the sixth.

Morgan scored on an errant throw by Bryant at second pulling the Pirates within two, 3-1 in the bottom half of the sixth inning. The freshman shortstop reached on an infield single before moving to second on Reynolds’ single up the middle. Houchins followed when he reached on a fielder’s choice where Reynolds was forced out at second, but on the double play attempt Bryant over threw Jake Ingold at first allowing Morgan to touch home.

Miller’s sac fly and Allen’s second homer of the contest pushed the Blue Raider lead to five, 6-1. Delgado doubled down the left field line to leadoff the seventh and landed on third on LaRue’s single to right field. Miller sent a long fly ball to center easily pushing across Delgado. Allen hit his seventh homer of the season sending a shot to left field clearing the bases.

The Pirates will be back in action on Monday, Apr. 21st when they play host to C-USA member Old Dominion in a non-conference contest that was added to the schedule on Thursday. ECU will close out its six-game home stand with a midweek matchup with in-state rival North Carolina (Apr. 22) before heading to Florida Atlantic (Apr. 25-27).