GREENVILLE, N.C. – A trio of Pirates hit home runs in Luke Bolka, Eric Tyler and Travis Watkins helping No. 11 East Carolina claim a home series win over La Salle, 8-4, Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates draw even on the season at 3-3, while the Explorers fell to 0-6.
Jacob Wolfe (1-0) picked up the win allowing three runs (all earned) on two hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work. The lefty had his scoreless inning streak snapped at 10.1 frames after Yan Carlo Rivera belted a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning. Sam Lanier tossed 1.2 scoreless frames with three strikeouts out of the pen and Jake Agnos closed out the game surrendering one run (earned) on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
C.J. Pruitt (0-2) suffered the loss allowing six runs (all earned) on seven hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts over four innings. Three of the right-handers seven hits allowed came via the long ball. Jackson Ray was touched for two runs (both earned) on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings, while Blake James issued a hit, a walk and fanned one in 1.2 frames out of the bullpen.
ECU pounded out double-digit (10) hits for the second time in the series and fourth time on the season all coming from the three through eight hitters in the lineup. Tyler, Watkins and Charlie Yorgen each had a pair of base knocks, while Bolka tied his career-high with four RBI coming on his grand slam. Tyler scored three runs while Bolka touched home twice.
La Salle got base hits from five different players with Rivera driving in three of the Explorers four runs. Ben Faso plated the other run in the top of the ninth frame.
How It Happened
Bolka smacked his second home run of the season in grand style depositing a 2-0 offering from Pruitt over the right-centerfield wall in the home half of the third inning staking ECU to a 5-0 lead. Yorgen led off the frame with a double down the left field line, which was followed by a Tyler walk and a Spencer Brickhouse single to load the bases.
Watkins’ solo blast to lead off the second inning put ECU up 1-0 early. It marked the sixth-straight outing that the Pirates scored the game’s first run.
Tyler joined in the hit parade smacking his first home run of the season (first extra base hit) taking a 1-1 pitch from Pruitt over the left field wall in the bottom of the fifth extending ECU’s lead to 6-0.
Rivera’s three-run homer to right field in the top of the sixth inning pulled La Salle within two, 5-3. Brian Tagoe and Brett Simon both drew walks before Rivera deposited Wolfe’s 2-1 offering pitch over the right field wall.
For the second consecutive game, Wes Phillips came off the bench and delivered an RBI base hit. The senior stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the seventh and doubled to left-center scoring Tyler and Bolka before Watkins was gunned down at the plate.
ECU will look to complete the series sweep of La Salle Sunday, Feb. 26 as the two teams close out the three-game set. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. (ET).