PAINT IT PURPLE: ECU rallies past Bryant 9-1 in Charlottesville Regional

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (ECU Media Relations) Evan Kruczynski tossed seven shutout innings, while the trio of Garrett Brooks, Bryce Harman and Kirk Morgan each drove in two runs helping No. 3 seed East Carolina to a 9-1 opening round win over No. 2 seed Bryant in the Charlottesville Regional Friday night at Davenport Field.

With the win, the Pirates (35-21-1) move on through the winners bracket to face top seed and regional host Virginia (38-20) on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. (ET). The Bulldogs will face No. 4 seed William & Mary (29-30) in an elimination game at 11 a.m. (ET).

Kruczynski (7-1) scattered six hits over his seven scoreless frames issuing three walks and striking out six. The First-Team All-American Conference performer recorded his 13th quality start in 16 outings (23rd career) and fanned a pair of batters in the first and fifth innings. Matt Bridges tossed a scoreless eighth inning allowing a walk, while Davis Kirkpatrick (0.0 IP, 1 R, 2 BBs) and Chris Holba (1.0 IP) closed out the game working the ninth frame.

James Karinchak (12-3), a second-team All-America selection, suffered the loss giving up one run (earned) on three hits while walking four and striking out eight in his 6.1 innings. Bryant used five pitchers in relief getting outings from Justin Snyder (0.2 IP, 1 R), James Davitt (0.1 IP, 4 Rs), Logan Lessard (0.0 P, 1 R), Oliver Powers (0.2 IP, 1 R)) and Michael Marshall (1.0 IP, 1 R).

ECU out-hit Bryant 11 to six on the night and used a seven-run eighth inning to pick up its first NCAA Regional win since 2012 (Chapel Hill) – it was also the Pirates first opening round win in regional play since 2009. Travis Watkins and Charlie Yorgen each collected three hits, while Brooks added a pair of doubles and drove in two. Turner Brown, Morgan and Eric Tyler recorded base knocks to account for all 11 hits.

Cole Fabio led the Bulldogs with two hits, while Robby Rinn plated the lone run that came in the ninth inning on a ground out to first. Bryant was 0-for-17 on the day with runners on base and 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

How It Happened:

Harman broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning on a sac fly to center field that scored Watkins for a 1-0 Pirate lead. Watkins collected his second of three hits of the game to start the inning and moved to third on Tyler’s base hit to right-center. Harman welcomed Snyder to the game taking a 1-0 offering deep to center that easily plated Watkins.

ECU blew the game open with a seven-run eighth pushing its lead to 8-0. Brown plated the first run on a RBI single up the middle scoring Yorgen. With runners on first and third, Brooks doubled down the right field line pushing across Brown. After Tyler drew an intentional walk to load the bases, Harman collected his second RBI with a  free pass that scored Watkins for a 4-0 lead.

A wild pitch by Lessard with the bases juiced scored Brooks and then Morgan followed with a two-RBI pinch-hit single up the middle pushing across Tyler and Harman. Yorgen capped the frame with a double off the right field wall that plated Wesley Phillips, who pinch ran for Morgan, before he was thrown out at third making it an 8-0 ball game.

Brooks drove in his second run of the game with a double down the left field line that scored Jeff Nelson.

Rinn’s RBI ground out to Harman at first scored Dan Cellucci thwarting a Pirate shutout, 9-1.

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