Kuchmaner tosses first perfect game in ECU Baseball history, Pirates sweep Maryland, 3-0
Sophomore Jake Kuchmaner made history Sunday afternoon tossing the programs first-ever perfect game as No. 14 ECU completed the series sweep of Maryland at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. With the win, the Pirates improve to 15-6 on the year while the Terrapins drop to 10-8.
Kuchmaner (2-0) retired all 27 batters he faced on the afternoon recording eight strikeouts, 10 fly outs and nine ground outs in his perfect outing. The lefty fanned at least one batter in seven frames and had two punch outs in the eighth stanza and had just four full-counts. The outing marked the second time this season he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning. Back on March 6 at then No. 9 Ole Miss, he was one strike away from the no-no before issuing a walk. The next batter, Thomas Dillard, singled to left field with one out.
The perfection was the first by an NCAA Division I pitcher since Washington’s Joe DeMers against North Dakota State back on Feb. 24, 2018. It also marked the 11th contest in Pirate history that an opponent did not tally a base hit and is the first since Ricky Brooks’ no-hitter against Memphis in 2005.
ECU broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning thanks to Thomas Francisco’s two-RBI double to right field for a 2-0 advantage. Spencer Brickhouse doubled to right center and two batters later Turner Brown singled to right field putting runners on the corners. Francisco took a first pitch offer from Trevor LaBonte (fastball) and drove it off the base of the outfield wall in right field easily scoring Brickhouse and Brown.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Terps sent the bottom third of their order to the plate. Kuchmaner got Justin Vought to pop out to second, Tommy Gardiner grounded out to Alec Burleson at first on diving play right of the bag then the Waxhaw, N.C. native fanned pinch hitter Kody Milton to end the contest.
The Pirates added to their lead in the ninth when Seth Caddell blasted a solo home run to left field capping the scoring at 3-0.
LaBonte (1-1) suffered the loss allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. The Terrapins used four pitchers out of the bullpen getting outings from Elliot Zoellner (1.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 Ks), Sean Fisher (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 Ks), Nick Turnbull (0.1 IP) and John Murphy (1.0 IP, 2 Hs, 1 R, 3 Ks).
On the afternoon, ECU tallied eight hits getting two each from Brickhouse and Brown. Caddell, Francisco, Lloyd and Packard also registered base knocks.
ECU will be back in action on Wednesday, March 20 when it plays host to instate rival UNCW. First pitch at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. (ET).