Pirates sweep Classic

Pirates Bryan Bass (6) and Jay Cannon (23) have plenty to celebrate about after winning three straight games this weekend at the Keith LeClair Classic. -Drew Carter | The East Carolinian

The ECU baseball team hosted its 10thAnnual Keith LeClair Classic this weekend at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

The Pirates competed against the University of Illinois, Boston College and New Mexico State University. ECU (3-3) swept the competition, clinching its first three victories of the season after entering the tournament with a 0-3 record.

The Pirates competed in the final game of the classic against New Mexico State, in which the first five innings were scoreless. An RBI double by New Mexico State’s Kent Blackstone put the Aggies out on top at 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Then, ECU’s Bryan Bass and Jack Reinheimer each countered the opposing score with singles, leaving two runners on first and third base. Drew Reynolds followed with a base hit to tie the game at one.

Next to bat for ECU was Chase McDonald who hit a single, allowing Reinheimer to score, followed by a double down the left field line from Nick Thompson, letting Reynolds score. ECU’s Jay Cannon then hit a fly ball to centerfield that allowed Thompson to score, making it 4-1 in favor of the Pirates. ECU held on to the lead for a 5-1 victory.

Senior Andy Smithmyer led the Pirate pitchers, allowing only one hit over two innings with five walks and four strikeouts.

Junior Ryan Williams earned his first victory as a Pirate in ECU’s second game of the tournament against Boston College. Williams struck out five batters in seven innings and only allowed one run.

The Pirates drew first blood in the matchup after a single from McDonald scored Travis Watkins in the third. McDonald was thrown out on the play, which concluded the third inning.

ECU struck again when a double from Cannon allowed Nick Thompson, who walked after being struck by a pitch, to score before Cannon was thrown out while trying to stretch the play into a triple.

Boston College struck back in the sixth inning on a throwing error that scored BC’s Tom Bourdon. However, the score did not build enough momentum for Boston College to gain an edge as the game ended at 2-1, giving ECU their first consecutive win of the season.

The Pirates earned their first victory of the 2013 season on Thursday against Illinois University. The Fighting Illini jumped out to an early lead, with the score at 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth. ECU’s Zach Houchins stole the momentum away from Illinois with a two-run homer, moving the score to 2-1.

ECU then went on a scoring rampage in the sixth inning, started by Reynolds’ double to right center. That was followed by a ground-rule double by Thompson that brought Reynolds around to home plate. Houchins and Garrett Brooks were both walked following a ground-out by Dylan Brown, leaving the bases loaded for Watkins to hit a two-run single, pushing the score to 6-1 in favor of the Pirates.

In the seventh inning the bases were loaded again, this time with Brown up to bat.  Brooks hit a single, which scored Reynolds, followed by a walk from Watkins, which scored McDonald, moving the score to 8-1. Illinois scored again in the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough and the Pirates took the game, 8-2.

The ECU baseball team will return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. against VCU. The Pirates will have their work cut out for them when they face the 5-0 Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University, but will have an advantage coming off their current winning streak and 13-game home stand.

 

This writer can be contacted at sports@theeastcarolinian.com.

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