GREENVILLE, N.C. – Luke Bolka drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning giving No. 9 East Carolina a walk-off win against Western Carolina, 5-4, Saturday afternoon during game two of the 14th Annual Keith LeClair Classic at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 6-3 on the season notching their sixth consecutive victory, while the Catamounts fell to 4-4.
Joe Ingle (2-0) picked up the win in relief allowing one run (earned) on two hits with a pair of walks and one strikeout in 1.1 innings of work. Starter Evan Kruczynski surrendered three runs (all earned) on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings before leaving the game with ankle injury. Jake Agnos tossed five no-hit innings of relief walking one and fanning 11 of 16 batters faced in the contest. He is the second freshman this season to register double-digit strikeouts in a game following Trey Benton’s 10-strikeout performance against La Salle.
Dillon Bray (0-1) took the loss giving up one run (earned) on three hits in 1.2 innings. Starter Bryan Sammons allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Dylan Biumi (0.1 IP, 1 R) and Korey Anderson (0.1 IP) also saw action out of the bullpen for Western Carolina.
Spencer Brickhouse and Charlie Yorgen led the Pirates with a pair of hits, while five others added one. Bolka, who scored two runs, also drove in a team-best two runs including the game-winner, while Brickhouse, Wes Phillips and T.J. Riles also plated runs.
Bryson Bowman drove in three of the Catamounts three runs belting his second homer of the season, a three-run shot. Luke Robinson plated Matt Smith in the ninth inning for the game-tying run.
How It Happened:
With the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Bolka drew a free pass on four-straight pitches giving ECU a 5-4 walk-off win. Brady Lloyd led off with an infield single, took second on Yorgen’s base hit to center and moved to third on Turner Brown’s base hit through the left side. Eric Tyler followed when he reached on a fielder’s choice where second baseman Nobu Suzuki threw home for the force out. Bolka stepped to the plate and saw four consecutive balls plating the game-winning run.
Western Carolina jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top half of the third inning thanks to Bowman’s three-run home run. Cameron Blaquiere walked to start the frame, took second on Brett Pope’s bunt single and came around with Pope on Bowman’s second homer of the season.
ECU pulled within one, 3-2, in the home half of the fourth thanks to a pair of RBI singles. Bolka got things going with a walk and moved to third on Brickhouse’s double to right-center. Phillips plated the Pirates first run with a single to right field scoring Bolka and Riles followed with an infield single to short that pushed across Brickhouse.
Brickhouse tied the game at three-all in the fifth with an RBI single to right center. Bolka led off with a single to left field, stole second and came around on Brickhouse’s second base knock of the afternoon.
Bolka’s RBI sac fly in the seventh gave the Pirates their first lead of the contest, 4-3. Brown walked to start the stanza then stole second and wound up on third on an errant throw by Justin Sparks, who was trying to throw Brown out at second. Bolka lifted and 1-2 offering from Bray to straight-away center field allowing Brown to tag up.
The Catamounts tied the game at four-all in the top of the ninth when Luke Robinson singled home Smith, who started the rally with a base hit to left field. After Caleb Robinson dropped down a sac bunt which moved Smith to second, Andrew Bullock drew a pinch-hit walk. Another free pass by Ingle to Suzuki loaded the bases for Luke Robinson, who singled through the right side.
The Pirates will be back on the field Saturday, Mar. 4 when they host No. 16 St. John’s on day two of the LeClair Classic.