ECU Completes Sweep Over Albany
Victory didn’t come quite as easy for the East Carolina baseball team in Sunday’s series finale against Albany at waterlogged Clark-LeClair Stadium as it did during Saturday's 14-3 rout. But the Pirates, aided by two costly errors by the Great Danes’ outfield that directly played a hand in three runs, won 5-3, nevertheless, to secure their first series week of the season on a weekend that had its fair share of less-than-ideal weather conditions. “Today was probably the worst of the weather conditions because it was raining and it was cold outside,” first-year ECU coach Cliff Godwin said, “but both teams had to play in it. We fought through it, and won, and got a sweep and that’s huge.” Most notably of the two Albany (1-5) miscues, sophomore Bryce Harman lined a double into the right field corner in the seventh inning that was mishandled by right fielder Eric Mueller, which allowed Charlie Yorgen to score all the way from first base — breaking a 3-3 tie — and the not-so-nimble-footed Harman to advance to third base. Clean-up hitter Luke Lowery was up next and pushed Harman home to score on an RBI groundout on the next at-bat to complete Sunday’s scoring. Earlier in the game, Lowery slapped an opposite field fly ball to right field that was misjudged by Mueller. The ball floated over Mueller’s head — it was ruled an RBI double since the ball didn’t graze his outstretched glove — to plate Yorgen in the fifth inning and subsequently, gave ECU (5-4) a 3-2 lead. “The winds are always blowing here at Clark-LeClair and the rain, it gets in the eyes a little bit,” said Lowery, who finished with six hits and six RBI on this weekend, but was also charged with an error in left field after failing to grab a pop-up in foul territory. “It’s a tough day to be an outfielder ... but, on the other end, I’m happy that one got over the guy in right field.” Amidst steady rainfall at this point, the Danes responded to draw back even when second baseman Karson Canaday’s two-out bleeder leaked into right field in the sixth for the game-tying RBI double. ECU’s starter, right-handed junior David Lucroy, was pulled in favor of lefty Nick Durazo, who only lasted one single batter after his five-pitch walk loaded the bases. With the bags full, in a tie game, Godwin handed the ball to a position player all of last season: sophomore Kirk Morgan. “I was thinking I didn’t want to walk in the go-ahead run and I knew he was going to come in and throw strikes,” Godwin said of his thought process bringing in Morgan. “That’s the one thing about Kirk Morgan. He’s a position player and those guys can throw strikes.” Godwin’s decision paid off. Morgan escaped the bases-loaded jam by inducing an inning-ending groundout to third base. Morgan would go on to throw two more shutout innings, while surrendering just one Albany hit along the way. Sunday's finale was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., but due to a brief storm, first pitch was delayed until 1:53. ECU will return to action Tuesday night to play its first road game of the year at in-state rival N.C. State. First pitch at Doak Field in Raleigh, N.C., is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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