N.C. State Shuts Out Pirates 7-0

RALEIGH, N.C. — Six N.C. State (6-3) pitchers kept ECU's (5-5) offense at bay all afternoon Tuesday and rolled to a 7-0 victory at Doak Field.

Whenever the Pirates and Wolfpack meet at Doak Field, you can typically count on watching a close, low-scoring baseball game.

In fact, their last four encounters in Raleigh have been decided by two runs or fewer — all ending in N.C. State wins — with East Carolina scoring just seven runs combined in those games.

And for large stretches of Tuesday’s game it looked like the few fans at chilly Doak Field were in store for a similar result, but the Wolfpack eventually pulled away in the latter innings on its way to a 7-0 victory.

Without their cleanup hitter Luke Lowery, who leads the team in all the major offensive categories and has a conference-best four home runs, the Pirates (5-5) mustered four hits against six Wolfpack (6-3) pitchers.

“They just beat us on the mound,” ECU sophomore Charlie Yorgen said. “We need to hit a lot better than we did today. We had some pretty bad at-bats.”

Fifth-year ECU coach Cliff Godwin added, “When you take (Lowery) out of there, that’s not an excuse for the way we played today, but it’s a big difference.”

Lowery was a late scratch due to a stiff back according to the ECU sports information department. Cliff Godwin said he is day-to-day and wouldn’t rule him out of playing Wednesday against Old Dominion.

After Wolfpack senior Logan Ratledge opened scoring in the top of the fifth with a two-run blast to left field, N.C. State tacked on two runs in both the seventh and eight innings to put the game away.

Redshirt sophomore Johnny Piedmonte, who spent the last two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, made an abbreviated start for the Wolfpack. With several MLB scouts in attendance, which included former ECU coach and current Yankees scout Billy Godwin, Piedmonte turned in a solid three innings — touching 90 miles per hour regularly, permitted two hits and collecting three strikeouts on 45 pitches.

ECU’s first and only real scoring threat came in the top of the fifth inning when N.C. State reliever Brad Stone walked consecutive batters to load the bases for the top of ECU’s order with just one out. However, with right-hander Curt Britt replacing Stone on the mound, the Pirates failed to cash in as Parker Lamm softly flew out and Yorgen bounced out to second base to end the frame.

“Anytime you’re playing a team like N.C. State and you’ve got runners in scoring position, you’ve got to get them in,” said Yorgen of the Pirates’ squandered bases-loaded opportunity. “We didn’t do a good job of hitting with two out or with runners in scoring position.”

N.C. State capitalized on ECU’s miscue by opening scoring on Ratledge’s two-run blast in the bottom of the frame. The senior second baseman turned on junior right-hander and Raleigh native Jimmy Boyd’s mislocated fastball, which he called a “pretty flat fastball” that he rushed, and deposited it comfortably over the 320-feet sign in left field.

“It just changed the momentum,” said Godwin, “and then it was downhill from there.”

That was one of the few mistakes for Boyd, who limited the Wolfpack to those two runs on seven hits in six innings of work.

In the inning that followed Boyd’s exit, the Wolfpack crossed a pair of runs on Andrew Knizner’s two-run double off of ECU lefty Nick Durazo. Then in the eighth inning, N.C. State scored three more times, for good measure, to seal its largest win over ECU in 10 years.

ECU’s midweek matchup with Old Dominion on Wednesday was originally scheduled for Feb. 25, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather. Godwin named southpaw Reid Love as his starter against the Monarchs. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

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