ECU Wins 11-9 Slugfest against UNCG

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Philip Clark and Chase McDonald each collected a pair of hits and drove in three runs helping East Carolina (7-4) to an 11-9 midweek victory over UNC Greensboro (6-4) Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

In a game that saw five lead changes, 26 combined hits, 24 runners left on base and 13 different pitchers toe the rubber, the Pirates scored three crucial runs in the seventh thanks to a two-RBI single by McDonald and a pinch hit single by Nick Thompson staking ECU to an 11-9 lead. Jake Harris, who picked up his first win of the season, tossed a scoreless eighth while Drew Reynolds closed out the game nailing down the save with a scoreless ninth.

Trailing 9-8 going to the bottom half of the seventh Luke Lowery singled through the left side to start the inning. After he was lifted for Ben Fultz as a pinch runner, Bryan Bass singled through the left side extending his hit streak to 12 games. Jack Reinheimer moved the runners up 90 feet on a sac bunt to third and Reynolds was intentionally walked to load the bases. McDonald singled to center scoring Fultz and Bass for a 10-9 Pirate advantage.

The Spartans, trying to stop their pitching woes, brought in left-hander Corey Taylor to face Dylan Brown, who popped up to second on a 0-1 count for the second out of the frame. Jay Cannon was intentionally walked to load the bases for Clark, who was immediately lifted for Thompson who then singled on a high chopper to second where Reynolds scored and McDonald was thrown out at the plate giving ECU a two-run cushion, 11-9.

Harris (1-0) tossed two innings in relief allowing one run (earned) on three hits with a strikeout. Starter Andy Smithmyer lasted just 1 2/3 innings surrendering three runs (two earned) on two hits with two walks and a strikeout. Dylan Dickens made his fifth appearance of the year working three full frames where he allowed three runs (all earned) on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts, while Reynolds got recorded his fourth save allowing a pair of hits and recording three punch outs in one inning of work. Tyler Bolton also saw action allowing two runs (both earned) on two hits in 1.1 innings.

Dylan Thompson (1-1) suffered the loss giving up all three runs in the seventh (one earned) on three hits with a walk. Spartan starter Brandon Browne was touched for five runs (all earned) on four hits with a pair of walks before handing the ball off to Brennen James, who surrendered one run (earned) on two hits in one inning of work. Tyler Frazier (1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB) and Caleb Henley (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB) each allowed a run before Thompson entered the contest. Taylor (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB), Adam Anderson (0.0 IP, BB) and Dominique Vattuone (0.1 IP) recorded the final five outs without allowing a run.

UNCG struck early scoring a pair of runs in the first inning taking a 2-0 lead. Christian Wolfe doubled to start the game and took third on a Zach Leach sac bunt. Trevor Edwards reached after being hit by a pitch and moved to second on the first of two Smithmyer wild pitches. The second pitching miscue resulted in Wolfe scoring and Cambric Moye singled two batters later to left pushing across Edwards.

TJ Spina scored the Spartans third run of the game in the top of the second on a passed ball extending the lead to 3-0. Spina reached after being hit by a pitch, took second when Benigno Marrero was walked and landed on third on Wolfe's sac bunt back to the mound.

ECU knotted the game at three in the bottom half of the frame thanks to RBI base hits from Clark, Zach Houchins and Lowery. Brown started the frame with a base knock through the right side then swiped the first of his two bases moving into scoring position with one out. Clark plated Brown on a single to center where Julian Abreu misplayed the bounce allowing Clark to end up on third. Houchins drove in his seventh run of the season on a double to left center and Lowery followed with a single through the left side scoring Houchins from second.

McDonald, Jay Cannon and Clark each drove in a run in the third giving the Pirates a 6-3 lead. After back-to-back walks to Reinheimer and Reynolds, McDonald singled up the middle plating Reinheimer. Brown followed with a sac bunt moving Reynolds to third and McDonald to second before Cannon delivered an RBI single through the left side pushing across Reynolds. Clark placed a bunt down the first base line with one out scoring McDonald for the final run of the frame.

UNCG sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth scoring three times and tying the game at six. With the bases loaded, Shawn Hendon singled through the left side scoring Leach. Abreu reached on a fielder's choice pushing across Edwards and Marrero drew a bases loaded walk scoring Moye.

Clark's second hit of the game scored Brown and gave ECU a 7-6 lead. Brown walked with one out, stole second and came around to score on Clark's two-out base hit down the left field line.

The third wild pitch of the night for the Pirates and a sac fly by Lloyd Enzor helped the Spartans regain the lead at 8-7 in the sixth frame. Leach singled through the right side and Edwards doubled down the left field line putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Leach scored on a wild pitch and Edwards trotted home from third on Enzor's long fly ball to center field.

Once again, ECU answered UNCG's run with one of its own in the bottom half of the stanza. Reinheimer reached on a bunt single, took second and third on a pair of Henley balks and strolled home on Brown's two-out double down the right field line, tying the game at eight-all.

Marrero's home run off Harris to left center with two outs gave the Spartans a one run lead, 9-8, in the seventh.

The Pirates, who outslugged the Spartans 15-11 on the night, had six players record multiple hits with eight of their nine starters registering a base knock. Reynolds drew a game-high three walks and scored twice, while Cannon and Reinheimer each added a pair of free passes.

ECU will be back in action on Wednesday, March 6 when it hits the road for the first time this season taking on former Colonial Athletic Association foe Old Dominion. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EST).