East Carolina’s (3-0) starting pitcher Jimmy Boyd looked to be in trouble early, allowing two runs in the first inning. Boyd then settled in and shut out the Lancers the next four innings. Joe Ingle closed the game pitching the eighth and ninth to complete the series sweep, with a 5-3 win.
The bullpen hasn’t been used much in the opening series, but were relied on in game three against Longwood. The right hander Nick Durazo came in to relieve Boyd in the sixth and allowed one run in two innings. Durazo struck out five Lancers in his two innings of work. Closer Joe Ingle took the mound for the Pirates in the eighth and recorded a two inning save. Ingle only surrendered one hit.
“I talked to him this morning and he said he felt well,” said head coach Cliff Godwin of Ingle. “Just went to him right away. I was going to see how he looked. He looked good in the eighth so I put him back-in in the ninth.”
The first inning the Lancers and Pirates traded blows. Longowood (0-3) had three straight singles to start the game and came away with two runs in the first. The Pirates responded with three runs of their own in the first on four hits.
In the seventh a Mac McCafferty RBI single to center got the Lancers within one. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Watkins stepped up to the plate with Charlie Yorgen on first. The Pirates put on a hit-and-run and Watkins ripped the ball down the right field line to extend ECU’s lead.
“I struck out earlier in the game,” said Watkins. “I told myself that I’m going to have to expand my zone.”
The middle of the lineup for the Pirates produced three of the five runs. Travis Watkins, Bryce Harman and Eric Tyler each had one run batted in. Dwanya Williams-Sutton also had a run batted in.
Longwood’s starter went 6.2 innings and surrendered four earned runs on nine hits. The bullpen pitched well for the Lancers, not giving up a run in the game. But the Pirates got just enough run support to complete the sweep.
“Anytime you can sweep a team, it’s awesome,” said Godwin. “Longwood is pretty good. You guys saw the ninth inning yesterday and then the way they played today. It was a close game and it was good for our guys to be in that situation.”