Ryan Williams, who is stepping into a bullpen role, was credited with his second win of the season. He relieved Tyler Bolton in the fifth inning and gave up only three hits, no runs and struck out six Dukes in four innings pitched. Williams was also credited with a win in Friday's contest after surrendering just two hits and an unearned run in the final 2.1 innings.
"[This role] puts me in a position to be ready to go every day," said Williams. "And, really, not know what's coming that day, but just be expecting to do whatever the team needs."
"It's good to come out of the first weekend," he added. "We had to deal with snow, so it's good to get this first series win under our belt."
Drew Reynolds took over on the mound to close the game. He locked down JMU by giving up no hits, no runs and striking out two of the four batters he faced.
The Pirates and Dukes both started strong by each scoring a run in the first inning. Chad Carroll drew first blood by scoring on a Matt Tenaglia RBI single. Garrett Brooks and Zach Houchins countered for ECU in the bottom of the inning. Brooks got a base hit, stole second and later notched the team's first run of the game via Houchins' RBI single. Houchins followed suit by stealing second, but was stranded there when JMU pitcher Patrick Toohers struck out two consecutive Pirates.
JMU attempted to counter ECU's aggressive base running in the second inning, but it backfired. After hitting a double, Tyler Gregory was caught stealing third. Bolton struck out the next Duke to step up to the plate and the third grounded out to shortstop.
After going three up and three down in the third inning, the Dukes showed life in the top of the fourth. Conner Brown hit a lead-off. Tenaglia followed up with a single to center field. Brown advanced to third and immediately made a run for home plate, but Brooks gunned him down with a huge throw from center field right to the plate.
"I knew I had to get it in quick," said Brooks. "I read it right off the bat. Once he hit it, I knew I had to come in for it. I just, luckily, had a good throw."
After preventing JMU from breaking the 1-1 tie, ECU came out in the bottom of the inning and scored two runs. Luke Lowery got on base with a bunt towards third and ended up stealing second shortly thereafter. His aggression got him in trouble, though, as he was caught attempting to steal third, too.
With two outs, singles from Reid Love and Dylan Brown positioned the two on first and third, respectively. Brown scored on a fielding error and Kirk Morgan plated Love with an RBI single immediately after.
Ky Parrot scored on an RBI single from Carroll to cut ECU's lead to 3-2, but that was all JMU could do to muster a comeback. The Dukes lost a ton of momentum when Brown and Parrot collided in the outfield in the bottom of the sixth inning going for a fly ball. It's worth noting that, despite both men leaving with injuries, Parrott still made the catch.
With their next game on Tuesday against Campbell, the Pirates have a quick turnaround. The Camels are coming off a 49-win season in which it beat ECU twice—once in Greenville and once in Buies Creek. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 4 p.m.