No. 11 East Carolina completes sweep of La Salle with 12-1 win

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – Trey Benton struck out a career-high 10 batters over five scoreless innings, while Eric Tyler collected a pair of hits and drove in three as No. 11 East Carolina completed the weekend series sweep over La Salle 12-1 Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 4-3 on the season, while the Explorers fall to 0-7.

Benton (1-0), who is the first freshman hurler with double-digit strikeouts in a game since Davis Kirkpatrick fanned 10 against High Point in 2014, allowed a pair of hits and walked three over his five innings of work. The right-hander struck out the side in the second and third innings, while also registering a pair of punch outs in the first and fifth frames. Tyler Smith (1.0 IP, 1 R), Hunter Hood (1.0 IP, 2 Hs), West Covington (1.0 IP, 1 H), Kirkpatrick (0.1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K) and Ryan Ross (0.2 IP 1 K) each made appearances out of the bullpen.

Mike Anthony (0-1) took the loss giving up seven runs (three earned) on one hit with three walks and a wild pitch in just two-thirds of an inning. Jared Mattera (1.1 IP, 1 R), Erik Janss (3.1 IP, 4 Rs), Michael Flax (1.2 IP, 2 Hs) and Austin Constantini (1.0 IP) combined to close out the game.

ECU scored its 12 runs on six hits and walked 10 times on the day. Tyler was the lone Pirate with multiple hits, while he (3) and Kirk Morgan (2) drove in multiple runs. T.J. Riles drew three walks and scored twice, while Charlie Yorgen walked twice and scored three runs. In all, seven Pirates were issued a free pass on the day and Luke Bolka reached after he was hit by a pitch.

La Salle managed five hits on the afternoon getting a pair from Connor Hinchliffe. Kevin McGowan scored the lone run, which came in the sixth inning on an ECU error.

How It Happened:

ECU scored a season-high eight runs in the bottom of the first inning taking an 8-0 lead and never looked back. It marked the seventh-straight contest in which the Pirates scored before their opponents. Tyler recorded both hits in the frame driving in a pair, while Riles drew a pair of walks and scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch. Watkins plated Tyler on a sac fly to right field. Kirk Morgan walked with the bases loaded plating Luke Bolka and Turner Brown followed when he reached on an error by La Salle first baseman Ben Faso with two outs that allowed Spencer Brickhouse and Bryant Packard to score for a 5-0 lead.

The inning continued when Yorgen walked to load the bases again this time for Riles, who walked for the second time in the stanza pushing across Morgan. Tyler capped the scoring with a two-RBI single right field that plated Brown and Yorgen.

A pair of sac flies in the third frame by Tyler and Bolka extended the Pirates lead to 10-0. Yorgen led off with a single, stole second and took third on a Janss wild pitch before darting home on Tyler’s fly ball to left field, which was dropped by the left fielder. With Riles on third and Tyler on first, Bolka lifted a pitch to center field easily plating Riles for the second run of the inning.

The Pirates scored single runs fifth and sixth, while the Explorers plated their first run of the contest in the top of the sixth on a pair of ECU errors capping the scoring at 12-1.

ECU will return to action on Wednesday, Mar. 1 when they play host to in-state foe Elon. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. (ET).