GREENVILLE, N.C. – Joe Ingle tossed two perfect innings of relief and T.J. Riles produced his second-straight game-winning hit as No. 11 East Carolina took game one of the three-game set from La Salle 7-3 Friday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 2-3 on the young season, while the Explorers drop to 0-5.
Ingle (1-0) faced six batters striking out four and notched his eighth career win. Starter Evan Kruczynski worked five innings allowing three runs (all earned) on nine hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Evan Voliva (1 H, 1 K) and Matt Bridges each tossed scoreless frames in relief for the Pirates.
Jorge Jimenez (0-1) suffered the loss surrendering four runs (all earned) on one hit and three walks while not recording an out. Luke Reilly gave up three runs (all earned) on eight hits with three punch outs in 6.2 frames in the start. Matt Holt faced one batter out of the bullpen, while Michael Flax pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
Spencer Brickhouse and Travis Watkins paced ECU’s 10-hit attack each picking up a pair of base knocks. Eric Tyler extended his hit streak to five games, while Kirk Morgan and Wes Phillips each had pinch-hit RBI hits. Brickhouse scored a game-high three runs and six different Pirates collected an RBI.
Austin Constantini and Fen Faso each had two base hits for La Salle, while six others added one. Kevin McGowan drove in two of the Explorers three runs both coming in the third stanza on a single up the middle.
How It Happened:
With the game tied at three-all heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, ECU’s offense exploded for four runs on a pair of hits and three walks to take a 7-3 lead and cruised to its second win of the season.
Charlie Yorgen and Drew Henrickson started the frame with consecutive walks before Riles’ single just to the right of second base slipped past the defender pushing across Yorgen for the go-ahead run. Riles promptly stole second putting runners at second and third with no outs before Tyler loaded the bases with the Pirates third free pass of the stanza. After the Explorers brought in Flax from the pen, Luke Bolka sent a first pitch offering to center field (sac fly) plating Henrickson for a 5-3 advantage.
ECU continued to increase its lead in the eighth when Riles scored on a balk and Morgan laced an RBI double to right field pushing across Brickhouse to cap the frame at 7-3.
For the fifth-straight game, the Pirates once again took an early lead against their opponent plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning, 2-0. Brickhouse led off the frame with a single to right-center and scored from first on Watkins’ double to left field. After Watkins stole his first base of the season, Turner Brown’s RBI ground out to short easily pushed him home safely.
La Salle responded with two in the top half of the third knotting the game at two-all. Yan Carlo Rivera started the inning with a double down the left field line, which was followed by a single by Constantini putting runners on the corners and no outs. After Constantini swiped second base, McGowan drove them both in on a single up the middle tying the game.
Brian Tagoe put the Explorers ahead 3-2 in the fourth scoring on a Kruczynski wild pitch. Tagoe started the inning with a double down the left field line and took third on Brett Simon’s sac bunt before darting home after Rivera drew a walk.
Phillips’ pinch hit RBI single in the bottom of the seventh tied the game at three-all. Bolka and Brickhouse registered consecutive singles before Bolka was thrown out at third on a double steal. Phillips laced a full count offering from Reilly to right-center scoring Brickhouse from third, who moved to the hot corner on Watkins fly ball to center field prior to Phillips’ at-bat.
The Pirates and Explorers will continue their three-game series on Saturday, Feb. 25 with a 2 p.m. (ET) scheduled first pitch.