Pirates Take Two Against Retrievers

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- ECU (16-11) coasted past UMBC (5-13) in both games of Friday's double header at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

East Carolina didn't have too much trouble with the Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers in Friday's double header at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

The Pirates were provided quality starts from juniors Jeff Hoffman and Reid Love, who tossed a complete-game shutout, and got plenty of run support at the plate – outscoring the Retrievers 19-3 – in route to a sweep of the double header.

ECU (16-11) has now won six games in a row and eight of its last nine.

"We're pitching, playing good defense and we're swinging the bat well. That's the most important thing, just playing well and I'm proud of our guys," said ECU coach Billy Godwin.

Senior Ben Fultz extended his hit streak to nine games in a 13-3 victory in game one – going 3-for-3 at the dish Friday – while both Drew Reynolds and Charlie Yorgen went for 3-for-5 with three RBI apiece.

Sophomore catcher Luke Lowery hit his first home run – a two-run blast in the sixth – to open scoring and the floodgates in game two. ECU shut out UMBC (5-13) 6-0.

At long last, Hoffman (1-3) earned his first win of the season in seven complete frames of work. He struck out five Retrievers, walked one and allowed six hits, including Manny Colon's two-run homer.

To celebrate their ace's first win, the Pirates gave Hoffman a standing ovation as he entered the clubhouse in between games.

"They all know we've been struggling a little bit to get me a win," said Hoffman, who has had his fair share of tough-luck losses and no decisions this season. "They were all happy for me and I was just happy I got the (win)."

Love was equally as impressive and in complete control in game two, surrendering just five hits in his complete-game shutout.

Two weeks ago, the junior southpaw saw his late-game no-hitter dissolve into a no decision. After surrendering back-to-back singles in the eighth inning Friday, Love was bailed out on a spectacular defensive play by Yorgen, who turned a flashy 4-6-3, inning-ending double-play.

"I thought (Yorgen) had no chance, but then he flipped it over his head and that was amazing," Love said.

ECU took a methodical approach to winning Friday's opener; scoring the first three runs of the game with well-executed small ball. It wasn't until the bottom of the sixth inning that the Pirates' took full control – scoring five runs on five hits to stretch their lead to 8-0.

However in the sixth, Fultz was hit by a ball as he slid into second base on a pick-off attempt. Godwin decided to rest his senior centerfielder for the second game and called his injury a mild shoulder strain, but said sitting him was nothing but precautionary.

As for game two, ECU did all of its damage in the first four innings and left the rest Love, who carried the Pirates the rest of the way and in turn reserved the bullpen.

The series finale between the Pirates and Retrievers is scheduled to resume Sunday at 1 p.m. Continue to follow InsideECUSports.com and our Twitter site @InsideECUSports for updates.

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