No. 9 ECU Baseball drops series finale to Monmouth, 8-5

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – Monmouth scored five runs in the seventh inning erasing a four-run deficit defeating No. 9 ECU 8-5 Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Hawks improve to 1-5 on the year, while the Pirates fall to 5-2.

Trailing 5-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Monmouth plated five runs taking a 6-5 lead. Robbie Holmes got things going with a leadoff double to center which was followed by another double off the bat of Colin McCreary for the Hawks first run of the stanza. After a Pirate pitching change, Brandon Taylor laced a single through the right-side putting runners on the corners. McCreary scored on a Trey Benton wild pitch to pull within two, 5-3. Following another pitching change, Kyle Norman singled through the left side pushing across Matt Graber and JD Andreessen doubled home JP Walsh giving the Hawks their first lead of the day at 6-5.

Ryan Lillie (1-1) picked up the win in relief allowing one run (earned) on one hits with a walk in two innings of work. Starter Tyler Ksiazek was tagged for four runs (all earned) on three hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts in four innings. Jordan McCrum registered the save with three scoreless frames where he surrendered a pair of hits, walked two and fanned five.

Evan Voliva (1-1) suffered the loss giving up the would-be game-winning run on two hits without recording an out. Starter Tyler Smith gave up three runs (all earned) on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Trey Benton (0.1 IP, 2 Rs), Sam Lanier (2.0 IP, 2 Rs, 3 Ks) and Ryder Giles (0.2 IP, 2 Ks) also worked out of the bullpen for the Pirates.

ECU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning thanks to Giles’ bases-clearing double. With Turner Brown on third, Brady Lloyd on second and Lane Hoover on first, Giles ripped a two-out double down the right field line clearing the bases.

Thomas Francisco blasted solo home runs in the third and sixth innings giving the Pirates a 5-1 lead before the Hawks scored their five runs in the seventh. Zach Schild capped the scoring on the afternoon when he belted a two-run homer over the right field wall off of Lanier for an 8-5 final.

ECU managed just six hits on the day getting two from Francisco, while Giles drove in a team-high three runs. The Hawks pounded out 11 hits getting multiple base knocks from Andreessen, Norman and Johnny Zega. Andreessen and Schild each drove in a pair of runs for Monmouth.

The Pirates will continue their homestand on Monday, Feb. 25 when it welcomes Air Force for a 4 p.m. single-game tilt.