Sophomore Jeff Hoffman tossed a one-hit complete game shutout and junior Zach Houchins collected three hits with two RBI in East Carolina’s 3-0 victory over North Carolina Central Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 13-14, while the Eagles (18-10) saw their nine-game win streak come to an end.
Hoffman (3-3), allowed just two runners to reach scoring position, retired 27 of 32 batters he faced recording seven strikeouts, 11 ground outs and eight fly outs in the two-hour contest. The right-hander also walked three and hit two batters to go along with the lone hit, which came in the fourth frame with one out. Five of his seven strikeouts ended an inning and he had multiple punch outs in the second and fifth frames. Hoffman retired nine of the final 10 batters to pick up his third win of the season.
Houchins recorded his second-straight game-winning hit of the week with an RBI double in the bottom of the first that gave ECU a 1-0 lead. Dylan Brown, who reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and came around to score on Houchins’ team-leading seventh two-base hit.
Michael Romano (2-4) suffered the loss allowing three runs (all earned) on 11 hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts. Andrew Vernon tossed a perfect eighth with one punch out.
The Pirates added to their lead in the third frame pushing across a pair of runs, 3-0, on RBI base hits from Houchins and Chase McDonald. Jay Cannon continued his hot hitting lacing a single back up the middle for one out. For Cannon it was the 15th time in the last 16 games he recorded at least one base knock. Houchins’ triple to right center scored Cannon easily from first and McDonald followed with a RBI single up the middle.
Offensively the Pirates pounded out 11 hits with Chris Gosik (two), Houchins (three), McDonald (two) and Travis Watkins (two) picking up multiple hits.
ECU and NCCU will be back in action on Saturday, Mar. 30 when the two squads meet at the Durham Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. (ET).