Indiana tops No. 17 ECU baseball in Keith LeClair Classic, 11-5

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – Indiana’s pitching struck out 13 while Drew Ashley and Grant Richardson each hit home runs lifting the Hoosiers to an 11-5 win over No. 17 East Carolina Friday night during day one action at the 17th Annual Keith LeClair Classic inside Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win Hoosiers improve to 5-2 and the Pirates fall to 7-2.

Trailing 3-2 heading to the third inning, Indiana pushed across four runs taking the lead for good at 6-3. The Hoosiers collected five hits in the frame which was highlighted by Richardson’s two-run homer that plated Ashley before him. Hunter Jessee’s two-run double down the right field line scored both Jordan Fucci and Collin Hopkins.

Braden Scott (1-0) earned the win tossing four scoreless innings in relief allowing three hits and striking out a season-high seven batters. Starter Gabe Bierman was touched for five runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and six punch outs over four frames. Connor Manous worked a scoreless ninth with a walk and one strikeout.

Alec Burleson (1-1) took the loss surrendering a career-high six runs (all earned) on eight hits with a pair of strikeouts in 2.2 innings. The Pirates would go on to use seven harms out of the bullpen getting outings from Skylar Brooks (1.1 IP, 1 K), Carter Spivey (0.1 IP, 1 R), Garrett Saylor (1.2 IP, 2 Ks), Parker Boyle (0.1 IP, 1 R), Trystan Kimmel (0.2 IP, 3 Rs), A.J. Wilson (1.0 IP, 2 Ks) and Nick Logusch (1.0 IP, 1K).

Fucci got the scoring started with a two-run base hit putting the Hoosiers up 2-0 in the first frame. Richardson singled through the right side with one out and two batters later he and Elijah Dunham came around to score on Fucci’s double down the left field line.

ECU took a 3-2 lead in the second thanks to a pair of hits and two Indiana errors. Christian Smallwood opened the frame with a walk and moved over to third on a fielding error by Fucci at first base. Seth Caddell’s RBI single scored Smallwood while Connor Norby moved over to third base. Nick Barber’s sac bunt pushed across Norby making it a two-all ball game. Brooks kept the frame going with walk and Lane Hoover reached on a throwing error by Bierman putting runners on second and third for Zach Agnos, who singled through the right side plating Brooks.

The Pirates pulled within one, 6-5, scoring a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Brooks reached on an infield single with one out and moved to second on a passed ball. Hoover followed with another infield single putting runners on the corners. With runners on second and third and two away, Brooks scored on a wild pitch and Burleson drove in Hoover with a single to left field.

Indiana tacked on a run in the fifth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth to cap the scoring at 11-5.

Agnos and Hoover combined for four of ECU’s nine hits each collecting a pair. Brooks, Burleson, Caddell, Matt James and Smallwood also registered base knocks on the day. Indiana had five players tally multiple hits getting three each from Dunham, Fucci and Collin Hopkins.

ECU returns to the diamond Saturday, Feb. 29 when it plays host to No. 13 Ole Miss on day two of the Keith LeClair Classic at 4:30 p.m. (ET). The first game of the day will pit Indiana and High Point against one another at 12 noon.