GREENVILLE, N.C. – Travis Watkins continued to swing a hot stick going 3-for-4 with the game-winning RBI, while Reid Love picked up the win in East Carolina’s 3-2 non-conference series sweep of Monmouth Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 9-5, while the Hawks dropped to 0-9 on the season.
Trailing 2-1 going to the bottom half of the seventh, ECU scored a pair of runs taking a 3-2 lead late in the game. Love led off the frame with a single to left and moved into scoring position when Parker Lamm reached on an error by Monmouth’s first baseman Chris Gaetano on a sac bunt. Eric Tyler followed with another sac bunt pushing Love and Lamm up 90 feet. Bryce Harman’s sac fly to center allowed Love tag up and score knotting the game at two-all. Watkins, who is currently riding a five-game hit streak, singled up the middle plating Lamm for the eventual game-winning run.
Love (1-1) notched the win tossing four perfect innings of relief that included four strikeouts. Pirate starter David Lucroy went five frames allowing two runs (both unearned) on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Anthony Ciavarella (0-3) took the loss surrendering all three runs (one earned) on eight hits with four walks and a strikeout in 6.2 innings. T.J. Hunt made his second appearance of the weekend working the final 1.1 innings.
Lamm gave ECU an early 1-0 lead in the third frame on a sac fly that pushed across Luke Bolka. Making his first career start as the Pirates’ designated hitter, Bolka started the frame with a single to center, which was followed by a Hunter Allen single down the left field line. Love moved the runners up 90 feet on a sac bunt before Lamm lifted a Ciavarella first offering to center.
Monmouth, who hadn’t scored a run in 44.1-straight innings, tied the game at one-all in the fourth capitalizing on a pair of Pirate defensive miscues. Shane Hughes reached on an Allen error to start the stanza then moved to second on Kyle Perry’s sac bunt down the first base line. Dan Shea and Dave Moreno drew consecutive walks to load the bases for Gaetano, who reached on Harman error that plated Hughes.
The Hawks took their first and only lead of the weekend series in the fifth, 2-1, on another Pirate defensive mistake. With two outs in the frame, Steve Wilgus and Hughes recorded back-to-back singles and Perry reached on a throwing error by Jackson Mims that would allow Wilgus to score.
ECU extended its current win streak to four games, its home streak to eight and have now won nine of its last 11 contests. Watkins lead the Pirates in hitting for the third time this week with his three base hits on the afternoon finishing the week batting .579 (11-for-19). Yorgen extended his hit streak to eight games and has reached base safely in all 14 games this season.
The Pirates will continue their six-game home stand Tuesday, Mar. 10 playing host to Campbell at 6:30 p.m.