Pirates calm the Red Storm, sweep series

ECU baseball outhit St. John's in all three games, sweeping the Red Storm for a 6-4 overall record.

The Pirates completed their first series sweep of the season this weekend over the St. John's Red Storm. ECU (6-4) beat the Red Storm (1-10) three straight times over the course of the weekend, including a 7-3 victory Sunday afternoon.

David Lucroy (1-1) started on the mound for the Pirates on Sunday and recorded his first collegiate win. In six and one third innings of work, Lucroy allowed two runs off of two hits, and struck out a career-high nine batters.

With ECU leading 6-0 in the sixth inning, the Pirates looked to be cruising to an easy victory. But St. John's came alive in the seventh inning, scoring three runs that required ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin to call out Jake Harris for a pitching change.

The Pirates offense responded with a run of their own in the seventh on a sac fly from Zach Houchins that scored Chase McDonald. Harris pitched the remainder of the game, allowing one run on two hits with two strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.

Freshman Travis Watkins led ECU at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. Jack Reinheimer led the team with three RBIs in the victory.

In the second game of the series on Saturday, ECU used a five-run sixth inning to win the series, 8-1, against the Red Storm. Both Philip Clark and Drew Reynolds had two-RBI singles in the sixth to blow the game open. Neither team would score after the sixth inning as the Pirates coasted to their second-straight win.

Starting ECU pitcher Ryan Williams got the win (2-0) after pitching eight innings and allowing seven hits, one run and striking out one batter. Andy Smithmyer came into the game for relief. Smithmyer allowed one hit and struck out one in the final inning.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the first inning, scoring Bryan Bass and Reinheimer to take an early 2-0 lead. A sac bunt by Bass in the second inning scored Luke Lowery to extend the lead to 3-0 before an RBI double by St. John's Zach Lauricella at the top of the sixth got the Red Storm on the board, 3-1.

ECU's Bass went 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring two runs and recording a RBI. Reinheimer was very efficient, with an RBI, two walks and a run scored in three at bats. McDonald recorded an RBI for his team-leading eighth of the year.

"Bryan [Bass] is our leader out on the field," said Godwin. "That's what you want out of your seniors, guys that come out and fight for you every day."

The Pirates opened the series with a 6-3 win that pushed their record to .500 at 4-4.

Leading 3-0 after the second inning, ECU surrendered two St. John's runs in the third. An error by Houchins loaded the bases with no outs, and a wild pitch by Jeff Hoffman allowed the Red Storm's first run. St. John's scored again on a fly ball to center that scored Ty Blankmeyer.

But the Pirates responded with an RBI single by Clark in the bottom of the third to take a 4-2 lead. The hit was Clark's first of the year. The Red Storm again pulled within one in the fifth inning, but ECU responded again with two runs in the sixth to reach the game's 6-3 final score.

"We came out with good energy and I thought we had a good approach," said Godwin. "I was really pleased with our approach and how we were aggressive on the bases."

Houchins led the Pirate offense, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. McDonald finished with one hit, a walk and two runs scored in three at bats.

ECU's Hoffman (2-1) got the win on the mound after allowing eight hits, three runs and striking out two batters in seven innings. Reynolds got his third save of the year in one inning of relief, including a walk and two strikeouts.

The Pirates return to action in Clark-LeClair Stadium this Tuesday to take on UNC Greensboro. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

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