GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina posted a season-high 14 hits and got seven strong innings from David Lucroy on the mound to pick up a 9-2 win over St. John’s Sunday night and claim the 12th Annual Keith LeClair Classic title at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
For the Pirates (2-4) it’s their third-straight tournament title in the annual event and seventh overall following wins in 2004, 2007-08, 2010 and 2013-15. ECU also picked up co-championship honors in 2006 along with NC State and West Virginia.
ECU scored runs in the first three innings thanks to Eric Tyler’s solo blast in the first, Jackson Mims RBI groundout in the second and Tyler’s RBI double in the third staking them to a 3-1 lead, which they would never relinquish.
Lucroy (1-0) scattered five hits over seven frames allowing an unearned run with three strikeouts before handing the ball of to the Pirates bullpen. Evan Voliva made his second appearance of the season allowing a run on one hit in one inning of work, while Luke Bolka tossed a perfect ninth recording a strikeout.
St. John’s (3-3) used eight pitchers on the night with Kevin Magee (0-2) taking the loss. The right-hander gave up three runs (all earned) on three hits with a walk and strikeout in 2.2 innings before Chris Kalica relived him in the third. Kalica was greeted by the Pirates’ bats to a tune of three more runs (all earned) on four hits in 1.2 innings and Alex Katz surrendered two runs (all earned) on two hits in one-third of a frame. From there the Red Storm used all of their active pitchers sending five more to the hill before the game finally ended just after 9 p.m.
Holding a 3-1 advantage in the fifth, ECU exploded for five runs on six hits with one St. John’s error extending its lead to 8-1. Parker Lamm and Reid Love each singled to start the frame and Lamm crossed home on a wild pitch for the first run of the stanza. Luke Lowery plated Love with a base hit to left and two batters later Jeff Nelson singled home Lowery with a shot to left field. Mims followed with a liner through the left side and after Nelson swiped third to put runners on the corners, he scored on wild pitch making it a 7-1 game. Hunter Allen plated the final run of the inning with a single to left center allowing Mims to trot home from third capping the fame.
Lamm’s single up the middle in the seventh pushed across Cam Snow in his first collegiate game padding the Pirates lead to eight, 9-1. St. John’s would score a run in the eighth on Ty Blankmeyer’s RBI ground out to second.
Five players collected two hits in the nightcap for the Pirates highlighted by Tyler’s home run and RBI double. Lamm extended his hit streak to six games in the fifth frame, while Lowery was 2-for-3 with a run and RBI pushing his hit total to six leading the tournament field.
The Pirates will be back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 25 when they play host to Old Dominion at 3 p.m. (EST).