ODU Tops ECU In Non-Conference Action, 5-3

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Old Dominion plated a run in five of nine innings and held off a late East Carolina rally skipping out of town with a 5-3 win Monday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win, the Monarchs improve to 25-16 overall while the Pirates fall to 24-17.

Already leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh, P.J. Higgins’ RBI single to left field scored Nick Walker from second for the would-be game-winner extending ODU’s lead to three, 4-1. Walker got on base when he was hit by a David Lucroy pitch with one out and moved into scoring position with his ninth stolen base of the year.

Joey Benitez (1-1) picked up his first win of the season tossing 3.2 scoreless innings in relief where he walked one and struck out a pair. Brad Gero notched his team leading eighth save retiring the lone batter he faced (Joshua Lovick) via a strikeout in the ninth. Starter Greg Tomchick lasted 1.1 innings allowing a run on two hits before giving way to Benitez in the second frame. Brett Harris (2.0 IP, 3 Ks) and Conner Overton (1.0 IP, K) combined for three scoreless frames before Dean Ali toed the rubber in the ninth, where he was touched for two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

David Lucroy (1-4) took the loss giving up four runs (all earned) on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The Pirates used four pitchers out of the bullpen in Jacob Wolfe (0.0 IP, H), Hayden White (1.0 IP, R), Luke Bolka (0.0 IP) and James Gray (1.0 IP, 2 Ks) to work the final 2.1 frames.

ODU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second when Josiah Burney scored on Josh Eldridge’s RBI single to left center. Burney started the inning with a walk then took second on a Lucroy wild pitch before landing taking third on Jordan Negrini’s ground out to second.

Bryce Harman knotted the game at one-all in the bottom half of the stanza when he scored on a passed ball. Harman, who reached base twice in the contest, singled to left field with one out and moved into scoring position on Charlie Yorgen’s walk. Garrett Brooks loaded the bases with a single through the right side pushing Harman to third and Yorgen to second before the catching miscue.

ECU had a chance to push a couple more runs across in the frame with one out and runners at second and third. But Yorgen was thrown out trying to return to third base on Eric Tyler’s bunt attempt for the second out. Benitez got out of the inning with a strikeout of Tyler to keep the contest tied at one-all.

The Monarchs scored run in the fifth on Walker’s RBI double, another in the sixth on Negrini’s ground out and one more in the eighth on Tyler Urps base hit to right center for a 5-1 lead.

ECU made a game of it late plating two runs in the bottom of the ninth capping the scoring at 5-3. Ian Townsend led off with a single to center, which was followed by another single to center by Yorgen with one out. Brooks moved the runners over 90 feet on a ground out to second. Luke Lowery entered the game as a pinch hitter for Tyler with two outs in the ninth. After a wild pitch scored Townsend and pushed Yorgen to third, Lowery singled back up the middle plating the Pirates second run of the stanza and third of the contest. ODU went to the pen bringing in the right-hander Gero, who struck out Lovick to end the game.

Reynolds led the Pirates offensively picking up his 17th multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate. Yorgen extended his hit streak to a career-best seven games, while Dylan Brown reached base for the 10th-straight contest with walk in the eighth frame.

ODU had four players account for eight of its nine hits with Burney, Eldridge, Urps and Walker each collecting two each.

The Pirates will close out their six-game home stand with they play host to North Carolina (23-17) on Tuesday, April 22. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. (ET).