No. 22 ECU baseball cruises to series win at Charlotte, 15-5

Published: Mar. 7, 2020 at 8:35 PM EST
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For the second-straight day No. 22 East Carolina set new season-highs in runs (15) and hits (18) as it claimed a series win at Charlotte following a 15-5 victory Saturday afternoon at Robert & Mariam Hayes Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 11-3 on the season, while the 49ers drop to 8-7.

Leading from the outset, ECU didn’t waste any time in getting on the board scoring a pair of runs in the first frame for a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Alec Burleson laced one of his four hits in the game (single) through the left side and came around to score on Seth Caddell’s first home run of the season, a moon-shot over the left-center field wall.

Tyler Smith (2-1) earned the win allowing one run (earned) over five full frames where he walked two and struck out seven – one shy of his career-high. The right-hander fanned one in the second and two in each of the third, fourth and fifth frames before being lifted. The trio of Carter Spivey (1.0 IP), Gavin Williams (2.0 IP, 4 Ks) and Elijah Gill (1.0 IP, 2 Ks) each fired scoreless innings of relief, while Evan Odum gave up four runs (all earned) on four hits in his outing.

Ryan Czanstkowski (1-1) suffered the loss after he was touched for 10 runs (seven earned) on 11 hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Justin Offschanka gave up one run (earned) on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, while Trae Starnes allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with four strikeouts in 3.1 frames.

The Pirates continued to score at will plating three runs on three hits with a 49er error in the second inning taking a five-run advantage, 5-0. Connor Norby, who tallied four hits on the day, singled with a one-out and took third when Christian Jayne reached on a throwing error by Czanstkowski. Ryder Giles’ sac bunt pushed across Norby and Lane Hoover’s RBI double down the left field line plated Jayne from second. The Pirates final run of the stanza came on Burleson’s second hit of the contest, a shot through the right side.

Jayne’s RBI single in the third extended the Pirates lead to six, 6-0. Ben Newton reached on the second error of the day by Czanstkowski on a bunt attempt then took second on Norby’s fielder’s choice bunt and came around to score on Jayne’s shot back up the middle.

Dominic Pilolli drove in the Niners first run of the contest in the third cutting the lead to five, 6-1. Tate Pennington walked to start the inning, Patrick Wheeler followed with an infield single that hit one of the umpires and Todd Elwood loaded the bases on a bunt single back to Smith on the mound. Pilolli reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Pennington to score.

Newton’s sac bunt in the fourth added to ECU’s lead making it a 7-1 ball game. Burleson doubled to right-center to start the stanza and took third on Caddell’s single through the left side before coming home on Newton’s sacrifice back to the pitcher’s mound. For Burleson, the ball he hit off of Czanstkowski was originally ruled a home run but was overturned by the umpires giving him his second double of the year.

The Pirates batted around in the sixth scoring five runs on four hits pushing its commanding lead to 12-1. With the bases loaded and Offschanka coming into the game in relief for the Niners, Newton laced a shot down the right field line that was snagged by Josh Haney at first allowing Burleson to score. Norby followed with a two-run double to left field pushing across Caddell and Bryson Worrell. After a double steal put runners at second and third, Charlotte went back to the bullpen bringing in Starnes with two outs. Hoover reached on a bunt single that plated Norby and an errant throw on the play allowed Jayne to cross home as well.

ECU added three runs in the eighth which was highlighted by RBI doubles from Nick Barber and Alec Makarewicz for a 15-1 advantage. Charlotte tacked on four runs in the bottom of the ninth capping the scoring at 15-5.

Eight Pirates tallied at least one hit on the day with five players registering two or more. Burleson and Norby led the way with four base knocks, Caddell collected three, while Hoover and Jayne each had two. Four players in Caddell, Hoover, Newton and Norby drove in two runs apiece. The trio of Burleson, Jayne and Norby each touched home three times.

The Pirates will look to complete their third weekend series sweep of the year, first on the road, when they return to the diamond Sunday at 12 noon (EST).