Benton dazzles, No. 25 East Carolina surges late to beat Towson 8-5
GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 25 East Carolina scored seven runs in the seventh inning erasing a 2-1 deficit to claim a series win over Towson Saturday afternoon, 8-5, at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 16-8 on the year, while the Tigers drop to 8-9.
Trey Benton (3-0) allowed a pair of runs (both earned) on six hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work. For the right-hander, it was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season and third quality start. Matt Bridges surrendered three runs (all earned) on three hits with one strikeout in two relief frames.
Kyle Stricker (1-1) suffered the loss in relief after being touched for seven runs (all earned) on seven hits with a walk. Starter Kevin Ross surrendered one run (earned) on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Bo Plagge tossed a scoreless eighth giving up a hit and walking one.
ECU recorded 10 hits on the day getting multiple base knocks from Turner Brown (2) and Dwanya Williams-Sutton (3), while five others had one hit including Eric Tyler, who extended his current hit streak to 10 games. Luke Bolka drove in two runs on his third home run of the season and Williams-Sutton plated a pair on RBI singles. Bryce Harman led the Pirates with a pair of runs and extended his hit streak to seven games to lead off the seventh frame.
Eight of Towson’s starting nine collected hits with Logan Burke notching a pair. Richard Miller drove in two runs, while Cuinn Mullins and Richie Palacios added an RBI.
How It Happened:
Trailing 2-1, the Pirates scored seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the seventh taking an 8-2 lead. Six straight batters reached base via five singles and a fielder’s choice. Williams-Sutton, Brown, Travis Watkins and Tyler had RBI singles before Bolka blasted a two-run homer to left-center capping the frame. Brown scored a run on a throwing error in the middle of the stanza to account for the other Pirate run.
For the second-straight game Towson jumped out to an early lead, 2-0, plating a pair of a runs in the top of the third. Tristan Howerton walked to start the frame before moving to second on a Benton wild pitch and coming home to score on Miller’s RBI single up the middle. Burke followed with a two-out RBI single to right that pushed across Miller.
ECU finally scratched a run across in the bottom of the fifth pulling within one, 2-1. With one out and Harman standing on first, Wes Phillips moved him to second on a sac bunt before Dusty Baker drew a walk putting runners on first and second with two outs. Williams-Sutton followed with an RBI single to right field plating Harman from second base.
Towson would score a run in the eighth on Miller’s RBI ground out and a pair in the ninth on Mullins grounder to second and Palacios sac fly to center capping the scoring at 8-5
ECU will look to complete the series sweep when it hosts Towson Sunday, March 26 with a 1 p.m. (ET) scheduled first pitch.