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No. 9 ECU baseball walks-off Illinois State, 4-3, in 11 innings

Illinois State at ECU Baseball
Illinois State at ECU Baseball(WITN Sports)
Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 11:03 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2021 at 11:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – Seth Caddell’s RBI single in the 11th inning gave No. 9 East Carolina a 4-3 walk-off win over Illinois State Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 14-3 on the season while the Redbirds drop to 5-10.

ECU Postgame Zoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upbQP7hUEC8

With the game knotted at three in the 11th frame, Connor Norby led off with a single to center extending his on-base streak to 24 games. Zach Agnos moved him over to second on a sac bunt and Thomas Francisco was intentionally walked for Caddell’s heroics. Caddell, who now has two career walk-off hits, sent a 1-0 offering from Colin Wyman through the left side scoring Norby from second base for the series opening win.

Ryder Giles (1-0) earned the win tossing two scoreless innings where he allowed a hit, walked two and struck out a pair. Making his first start of the season, Gavin Williams allowed one run (unearned) on three hits with three walks and seven punch outs in five full innings. He retired the last seven batters he faced with four coming via a strikeout.

Cam Colmore threw three scoreless innings of relief retiring all six batters he faced registering a career-high five strikeouts. At one point, Williams and Colmore retired 16-straight batters from the third to the ninth frames. C.J. Mayhue was touched for two runs (both earned) on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in one-third of an inning and Matt Bridges got out of a bases loaded jam by striking out two in the ninth.

Wyman (0-1) took the loss giving up the game-winning run (earned) in the 11th on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Colton Johnson fanned nine over seven innings giving up seven hits and allowing three runs (all earned) without a walk.

It didn’t take long for either team to get on the scoreboard as the Redbirds drew first blood scoring in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Aiden Huggins led off with a double, moved to third on a passed ball and crossed home on Jordan Libman’s sac fly to center.

ECU responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the first going up 2-1 on Thomas Francisco’s second home run of the season. Agnos singled with one out and came around to score on Francisco’s ball that traveled 346 feet to right field.

Francisco’s second homer of the contest, a solo shot, extended the Pirates lead to 3-1 in the sixth inning.

ISU tied the game at three after scoring a pair of runs on Gunner Peterson’s double in the ninth inning. After ECU went to the bullpen for Mayhue, Tyson Hays walked to start the stanza and moved to second on Jack Butler’s single to left field. Mayhue then struck out Hayden Jones (pinch hitter) before Peterson’s two-base hit to center field evened the things up.

Both pitching staffs combined for 32 strikeouts on the night with the Pirates fanning 17 batters, while the Redbirds had 15. It marked the 12th time this season ECU’s hurlers fanned at least ten in a game.

Caddell, Francisco and Bryson Worrell each tallied two hits on the night, while Francisco had a game-high three RBI.

ECU and Illinois State will be back in action on Saturday, March 20 for game two of the weekend. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. (ET) and will be streamed on ESPN+.

POST-GAME NOTES

  • ISU scored the game’s first run on a sac fly in the first inning … It marked the fifth time this season ECU’s opponent scored first, but they have a 4-1 record when that happens … Under seventh-year head coach Cliff Godwin, the Pirates are 70-74 when their opponents score first …
  • Francisco hit a pair of home runs in the game marking the second time in his career with two homers (other was Feb. 24, 2019 vs. Monmouth) … The last Pirate to have a two-homer game was Bryson Worrell on March 1, 2020 against High Point …
  • CJ Boyd made his first collegiate start after being penciled in as the designated hitter …
  • Norby extended his on-base streak to 24 games dating back to 2020 with a single in the 11th frame …
  • The walk-off win is the second for the Pirates this season (other was Rhode Island season opener) and it is the third game this season that has gone into extra innings where ECU is 2-1 on the year …

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