No. 9 ECU Baseball tops Western Carolina in LeClair finale, 12-6
Spencer Brickhouse (three), Alec Burleson (two) and Bryant Packard (four) combined for nine hits and scored six runs helping No. 9 ECU to a 12-6 win over Western Carolina Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win, the Pirates improved to 8-4 on the year while the Catamounts dropped to 5-5. ECU also joined Utah and Wright State posting a 2-1 record in the LeClair Classic to share the tournament title.
With the game knotted at one-all, ECU scored five runs in the third inning taking a 6-1 lead. Thomas Francisco belted his team-leading third home run, a three-run shot, and Jake Washer blasted a two-run shot accounting for all of the Pirates runs in that frame.
Both teams plated a run in the fifth pushing the score to 7-2. Justice Bigbie drove in Colin Bertsch with an infield single for the Catamounts, while Brady Lloyd’s base hit scored Packard from third.
Western Carolina pushed across four runs in the sixth pulling within one, 7-6. Andrew Bullock singled home Justin Sparks and Daylan Nanny blasted a three-run homer scoring Will Prater and Bullock just in front of him.
But ECU responded with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to cap the scoring at 12-6. With Packard on second and Ryder Giles on first, Turner Brown dropped down a bunt moving the runners up 90 feet. After a new Catamount pitcher toed the rubber, Lloyd reached on a fielder’s choice where Giles advanced to third and Packard scored on an error. Dusty Baker’s sac bunt scored Giles and Lloyd would cross home on consecutive wild pitches by Jacob Corn.
Packard’s RBI single in the eighth scored Brickhouse, who tripled to right-center just before and Packard scored on a wild pitch for a 12-6 final.
Tyler Smith (1-0) earned the win allowing five runs (all earned) on nine hits with two strikeouts in five innings. Sam Lanier gave up one run (earned) on two hits with two punch outs in one inning, while Jake Kuchmaner (2.0 IP, 2 Ks) and Zach Barnes (1.0 IP) closed out the final three frames.
Chase Walter (0-2) suffered the loss surrendering seven runs (all earned) on nine hits with five walks and six strikeouts in six innings of work. Blake Therrian was touched for a pair of unearned runs in one-third of an inning, while Corn allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
In all, seven Pirates accounted for 13 hits on the day with Packard going 4-for-5 with one RBI and four runs scored. Brickhouse drove in a pair and walked twice to go along with his three base knocks, while Burleson was 2-for-3. Washer belted his second homer of the season plating a pair of runs.
ECU will hit the road for a pair of games in Mississippi when it travels to No. 12 Mississippi State on Tuesday, March 5 and No. 10 Ole Miss on Wednesday, March 6. First pitch for both games is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET).