In the first game of the season Evan Kruczynski and company shut down the Longwood bats. Kruczynski’s shutout performance and freshman shortstop Turner Brown’s bat helped lead the Pirates to an 11-1 victory.
Brown’s Pirate debut was near perfect as the shortstop went 3-3 and was triple away from the cycle. The freshman also hit a two-run homerun, his first since little league. Brown also stole a base and was hit by a pitch.
“I was just looking for a fastball,” said Brown on his homerun. “Coach Godwin told us to be aggressive. So I was trying to be aggressive early in the count, got a fastball up and in, and put a good swing on it.”
Junior pitcher Kruczynski got the start for the Pirates season opener and delivered. ECU’s opening day starter pitched seven innings and only allowed one hit, an infield single to the mound. The junior struck out four and walked one in 72 pitches.
"I was a little more comfortable out there today,” said Kruczynski. “Just got ahead of all the batters, like I try to do. That’s what the scouting report was, to get ahead and get them out early.”
An error in the third by Longwood shortstop Michael Osinski gave the Pirates its first run of the game. Then Pirates’ first baseman Bryce Harman singled up the middle and drove in Parker Lamm. Most of the damage came in the bottom of the eight where the Pirates got aggressive offensively.
Double steals and timely hits gave ECU five runs in the eighth. That gave the Pirates an 11-1 lead. Then the left-hander Nick Durazo came in a finished the game in the ninth.
Longwood had trouble to muster any offense against Kruczynski and the Pirates bullpen. The Lancers finished the game with only one run on three hits. Its starting pitcher Travis Burnette did not have as much success, pitching 5.1 innings and allowed four earned runs on five hits.
“It’s always good to get one in the win column to start with,” said head coach Cliff Godwin. “I thought we played anxious early. Kruczynski was tremendous, but I thought the hitter were a little anxious. Hit some balls hard early. Bryce almost hit one out and Jeff Nelson hit a hard ball. Once we kind of got things going, it snowballed.”