Pirates Late Rally Comes Up Short, 5-3

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Brandon Smith got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth helping Old Dominion skip town with a 5-3 win over East Carolina Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Monarchs improve to 9-5, while the Pirates drop to 9-6.

Trailing 5-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth, ECU got consecutive base hits from Jay Cannon and Dylan Brown before Philip Clark moved both runners into scoring position on a sac bunt to third. Chris Gosik was plunked by a Smith pitch loading the bases for Luke Lowery with the potential go ahead run on first base. Lowery fouled a 1-2 offering just right of first base for the second out and Bryan Bass took a full-count offering to short left field where Josh Eldridge came in making the game-ending catch.

Jake Josephs (2-0) picked up the win tossing five scoreless frames where he allowed just three hits with a strikeout. Smith notched his fourth save of the season scattering two hits over 1.2 innings. Tommy Alexander surrendered all three Pirate runs in an inning of relief, while Brad Gero bridged the gap to Smith with a scoreless 1.2 frames.

Nick Durazo (0-1) suffered the loss in his first collegiate start working six strong innings where he allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Deshorn Lake was touched for three runs (all earned) on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, while Grayson Bailey allowed one hit before being pulled in the seventh. Dylan Dickens (1.1 IP, H, BB, K) and Tyler Bolton (1.0 IP, H) closed out the final 2.1 innings with scoreless outings.

ODU took an early 1-0 advantage when Connor Myers homered off Durazo to leadoff the third stanza.

Two innings later the Monarchs manufactured another run pushing their lead to 2-0 in the fifth. Michael Perez singled to left center with one out, moved to second on Tyler Urps walk and cruised home on Austin McGowan’s single back up the middle.

The Monarchs continued to score in the seventh putting up three runs to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Jordan Negrini homered off Lake to start the frame, which was followed by an infield single to short by Perez. With two outs, McGowan walked putting runners on first and second before ECU went to the bullpen again, this time bringing in the left-hander Bailey. Eldridge stoked a 1-0 offering to right center clearing the bases and giving ODU a five-run advantage.

ECU finally got on the board in the bottom half of the inning pulling within two, 5-3. Thompson, who reached base four times on the day, singled through the left side to get things going for ECU. Drew Reynolds pinch hit for Chase McDonald and followed with a single to right center and Cannon followed with a walk to load the bases. Brown looped a two-RBI double down the right field line scoring Thompson and Reynolds and moving Cannon to third. Clark stepped to the plate and scalded a grounder to first base plating Cannon for the final run of the seventh.

Thompson led the Pirates with three hits, while Brown added a pair of base knocks finishing the contest 2-for-4 with two RBI. ECU, who was held to just three hits in the first six frames, finished with nine and left seven runners on base. ODU posted double-digit hits with 11 and were led by Negrini’s three-hit performance.

ECU will hit the road for the first time this year when they travel to Buies Creek, N.C. to face Campbell on Wednesday, Mar. 13 with a 6 p.m. (ET) first pitch scheduled.