Diamond Bucs Notch Second Straight Win

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- East Carolina (5-5) defeated Pittsburgh (4-4) 4-2 to earn its second straight win and second in the Keith LeClair Classic.

East Carolina (5-5) overpowered Pittsburgh (4-4) 4-2 to claim its second straight win and, after beating Western Kentucky on Friday, its second win of the 11th annual Keith LeClair Classic.

The win came on a solid showing all away around for the Pirates. Their defensive play remained strong both at the mound and in the field and the offense seemed to find its spark again. Their four runs are the most they've seen offensively since an eight-run outing against Campbell on Feb. 18.

"It's a team game," said head coach Billy Godwin. "When one area's down, the other one's got to pick it up. I keep telling guys that our offense is going to come around. We banged out 10 hits today. We've got good hitters. They started to get their timing down. Early in the year, pitching is always ahead of hitting. I thought our guys took some good swings. I thought we hit some balls that were outs that were really good swings, but it was a good win for us."

The Diamond Bucs came out strong in the fourth inning. Drew Reynolds and Zach Houchins notched the team's first two hits of the game on consecutive singles. Reynolds scored when Ben Fultz grounded out to second base and Houchins scored on an RBI bunt by Luke Lowery. As a squad, ECU outhit Pitt 10-2. Reynolds, Houchins and Lowery each had a pair of hits.

"You just got to get in there and swing," said Reynolds. "You can't worry about the results and anything like that. You just try to do all you can to help your team win and brighter days will come."

Reynolds made the save for the Pirates in the top of the ninth. He struck out the side to secure the win and his 26th career save, which tied the ECU record.

Drew Reynolds
(Kat Jessick/InsideECUSports.com)

"I don't really worry about that," said Reynolds about tying the record. "To me, that's 26 wins I was able to help us get along way and that's all I really care about. Seth Simmons was the guy before me and he did a lot in showing me how to be a closer, how to handle yourself and how to prepare. I really have a lot to thank him [for] to show me how to go about my business and whatnot. Ultimately, it says a lot about the coaches I've had and the players that play with me. As long as the Pirates win, I don't care."

Pittsburgh took the lead in the first inning on a fielding error. Drew Reynolds tried to throw Dylan Wolsonovich out at third, but ended up tossing the ball into the dugout, which allowed Wolsonovich to score.

The Panthers hung on to that lead until ECU's four-hit, two-run fourth inning that saw the Pirates take the lead.

Reid Love threw 23 pitches in the first inning, but settled down afterwards. He came out in the second inning and retired Pitt in order in just six pitches and had another quick showing in the top of the fourth.

He started throwing some wild balls in the top of the fifth, which prompted Brett Mabry to get the call to come in for relief. Love wrapped up the afternoon with two runs (neither earned) on one hit and three strikeouts. Mabry retired nine batters in a row before giving up his only hit in the top of the eighth. He was credited with his first win of the season.

"We talked about it coming into this year that we thought it was our strength," said Godwin about the bullpen's performance. "Adding [Ryan] Williams into that bullpen, everybody forgets about Brett Mabry. He was one of the reasons that we turned that thing around last year by kind of coming in and being our stopper. He's kind of the unsung hero, so to speak. I thought Brett did an outstanding job coming in and shutting it down for us and giving us the chance to take the lead there."

ECU takes on Ohio State Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Diamond Bucs will be looking to finish the tournament with a perfect record so they can ride a three-game win streak into Greensboro on Wednesday.

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