ECU baseball swept by Virginia

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Six unearned runs in game one and a two-run eighth inning in the second contest lifted No. 2 Virginia (3-0) to a non-conference series sweep of East Carolina (0-3) Saturday at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

After taking game one of the twin-bill 9-2, the Cavaliers scored a pair of eighth inning runs in the late game on an RBI ground out by Robbie Coman and a run-scoring single by Matt Thaiss for a 4-2 victory.

With the game knotted at two, Kenny Towns single through the right side with one out, too third on Pavin Smith’s two-base knock to center before crossing home on Coman’s grounder to second. Thaiss followed with a single through the left side allowing Smith to score from third giving Virginia a 4-2 lead.

Jack Roberts (1-0) picked up the win tossing four innings of scoreless relief allowing one hit and retiring the last eight Pirates he faced before handing the ball to Josh Sborz, who converted his second save of the weekend with a perfect ninth frame. All-American Brandon Waddell lasted just four frames surrendering two runs (both earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

For the Pirates, Jimmy Boyd (0-1) took the loss in relief working 2.2 innings allowing two runs on five hits with a pair of punch-outs. Starter David Lucroy went 5.1 innings giving up two runs (both earned) on four hits with two walk and two strikeouts. Nick Durazo and Joe Ingle tallied a scoreless frame between them with Ingle fanning the lone batter he faced in his collegiate debut in the ninth inning.

Towns RBI ground out in the first frame staked UVA to an early 1-0 lead. Ernie Clement reached on an infield single back to the mound, took second on Adam Haseley’s single through the left side and ended up on third on Daniel Pinero’s sac bunt. Clement crossed home for the contests first run on Towns’ grounder to second.

Virginia added to its lead in the top of the second on Thaiss’ solo home run to right field making it a 2-0 game.

But ECU cut the lead in half, 2-1, in the bottom half of the second on Garrett Brooks’ two-out single. With one out, Jeff Nelson collected his first Pirate hit with a single through the right side. Charlie Yogen, who led the Purple and Gold with two hits, singled to center putting a pair of runners in scoring position. Two batters later, Brooks’ laced a single to center off Waddell easily scoring Nelson.

Morgan tied the game at two-all with a bases loaded ground out to first in the bottom of the fifth. Parker Lamm, who collected at least one hit in all three games, led off with a base hit to left and moved to second, when Eric Tyler was hit by a pitch. With one out, Travis Watkins walked setting up the game-tying run.

In the early contest, ECU scored in the bottom of the first taking its first and only lead of the series. Hunter Allen reached on a Pinero error and took second on Lamm’s sac bunt down the third base line. With two outs, Lowery laced a shot to right field pushing across Allen for a 1-0 advantage.

The Cavaliers answered quickly in the top of the second sending 10 hitters to the plate capitalizing on three Pirate errors to score five runs (four unearned) taking a 5-1 lead. UVA added a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one more in the ninth making it a 9-1 game.

ECU scored a late run in the home half of the ninth on Watkins’ RBI single to right-center that pushed across Ryan Clinch, who pinch ran for Boyd after he walked with one out in the frame. Clinch advanced to third on a passed ball and an interference call on UVA moving within 90 feet of home.

Connor Jones (1-0) got the win allowing a run on three hits in six innings with eight strikeouts, while Kevin Doherty (2.0 IP, 1 K) and Derek Casey (1.0 IP, 1 R, 2 BBs) closed out the final three innings.

Jacob Wolfe (0-1) suffered the loss in his first collegiate start surrendering eight runs (two earned) on seven hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Ross Gardner tossed 2.1 scoreless frames with a strikeout and Mason Keen allowed a run on three hits in 2.0 innings.

ECU will travel to Old Dominion in its first road game of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 18 with a first pitch slated for 3 p.m. (EST).