Watkins' six RBI paces No. 25 ECU over Elon 11-7
ELON, N.C. – Travis Watkins drove in a season-high six runs with four coming on his second grand slam of the season as No. 25 East Carolina stayed perfect in midweek action following its 11-7 road win at Elon Tuesday night at Latham Park. The Pirates improve to 14-7 on the season and 6-0 in midweek games, while the Phoenix fall to 9-12 on the year.
Davis Kirkpatrick (1-0) picked up the win allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. On a staff day, ECU used four hurlers out of the bullpen which included Tyler Smith (3.0 IP, 1 R), Sam Lanier (1.2 IP, 1 R), Ryan Ross (1.0 IP, 2 Rs) and Joe Ingle (1.0 IP).
Robbie Welhaf (2-3) suffered the loss after giving up two runs (both earned) on three hits with a strikeout in one inning. Just like ECU, the Phoenix used multiple pitchers on their staff day in Kellan Elsbury (1.0 IP, 5 Rs), Naushon Galbraith (2.0 IP, 0 Rs), Nick Beaulac (1.0 IP, 2 Rs), Dimitri Lettas (2.0 IP, 2 Rs), Sean Byrnes (1.1 IP, 0 Rs) and Owen Lorenz (0.2 IP, 0 Rs).
ECU racked up 13 hits on the night getting at least one from eight of its nine starters including multiple hits from Dusty Baker (3), Luke Bolka (2), Eric Tyler (2) and Watkins (2). Watkins tied a career-high with six RBI and belted his fourth home run of the season (14th career) in grand fashion. Bryce Harman drew three walks, while Turner Brown and Charlie Yorgen each added a pair of free passes. Yorgen also drove in two runs, while Harman and Tyler added one.
Kyle Jackson paced Elon’s 14-hit attach going 4-or-5 with a home run and two RBI. Joe Satterfield produced three hits including a home run, while James Venuto had a pair of base knocks.
How It Happened:
ECU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to RBI hits by Watkins and Tyler. Brown doubled down the left field line with one and after a stolen base, he scored on Watkins’ double to right center. Spencer Brickhouse’s ground out pushed Watkins to third before he touched home on Tyler’s bunt single to third.
The Pirates extended their lead to 7-0 in the top of the second thanks to Watkins’ home run. Yorgen drew a bases loaded walk to score Bolka for ECU’s first run of the frame and two batters later, Watkins stroked his second grand slam of the season (third career) to left center – and the Pirates never looked back.
CJ Young’s RBI sac fly in the bottom of the second cut ECU’s lead to 7-1. Jackson reached on an infield single, took second on balk and third on a fly ball before darting home on Young’s sac fly to right field.
Satterfield’s solo home run and Jackson’s RBI double pushed across a pair of runs for the Phoenix, 7-3. Sattlerfield belted his second homer of the season with one out for Elon’s first run. Three more consecutive hits capped by Jackson’s RBI double scored Ryne Ogren.
ECU pushed its lead back to six, 9-3, after scoring a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. Harman singled home Bryant Packard and during Brown’s at-bat, Harman scored on a passed ball.
Liam O’Regan’s RBI single scored Zach Evers from second base pulling Elon within five, 9-4, in the bottom of the sixth inning. Evers led off with a walk then took second on Cam Devanney’s walk before coming home on O’Regan’s shot back up the middle.
Yogen and Watkins each drove in a run in the top of the seventh extending ECU’s lead to seven, 11-4. Yorgen got in on the hit parade with an RBI double that scored Harman, and Watkins plated his sixth run of the night with an RBI ground out that pushed across Baker.
Jackson’s fourth homer of the season, a solo shot to left field, made it an 11-5 game in the bottom of the seventh.
Elon added a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth on Ogren’s RBI ground out and Ty Adcock’s RBI single capping the scoring at 11-7.
ECU will be back in action Wednesday, March 22 when it plays host to No. 8 North Carolina at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (ET).