ECU men's baseball team rallies for 8-7 victory
From ECU Sports Information
ORLANDO, Fla. -- East Carolina rallied from a three-run deficit and held off a late rally to post an 8-7 win over Central Florida on Saturday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field.
The Pirates and Golden Knights will play the rubber game of the series on today at 1 p.m.
ECU exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to erase a 5-2 UCF lead. The Pirates sent 10 men to the plate and three of the five runs scored after two outs had been recorded. Ryan Norwood led off the scoring with a two-run home run to left field, his second of the season. Ryan Jones added an RBI single and Luke Cherry plated two more runs with a double.
The rally made a winner of Matt Bishop (1-0), the third pitcher of the game for the Pirates. Bishop pitched three shutout innings and yielded just one hit -- a single to lead off the bottom of the eighth -- while striking out four and walking two.
ECU closer Greg Bunn gained his second save by pitching the ninth inning, but had to extinguish a UCF rally. Bunn allowed two of the first four runners to get on via a single and a walk and watched Ryan Bono narrow the gap to one run with a one-out, RBI single. With runners on the corners, Bunn then struck out Matt Fox and retired David Mann, UCF's top hitter, on a hard line drive to right field which a running Darryl Lawhorn caught at his knees.
Lincoln Mincks (2-1) took the loss in relief, allowing two runs and pitching to three batters without recording an out. Mincks, normally UCF's ace who had started this past Tuesday against Bethune-Cookman, entered the game having not allowed an earned run in 11.1 innings while racking up 16 strikeouts.
The Golden Knights jumped out to a 5-2 lead through five innings, thanks to multiple-run frames in both the fourth and fifth. The first four batters reached to lead off the fourth, with three being brought home on RBI singles by Blaine Schulte and Matt Fox and an RBI groundout by Drew Butera. The Knights had a similar start to the fifth as they led off with two singles and two walks. A balk by ECU reliever Jason Neitz brought home one UCF run and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Bear scored another.
True freshman catcher Jake Smith, playing in just his second collegiate game, hit two solo home runs. His shot to left field in the fifth inning made it a 3-2 game and was his first collegiate base hit. He also lofted a long ball to left field in the eighth which extended ECU's lead to 8-5.
ECU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Jason Tourangeau's RBI single in the second.
n All six of ECU's games this season have been decided by two runs or less. The last four games have all been decided by one run.
n The Pirates' eight runs and 11 hits were both season highs.
n Senior Jason Tourangeau, who has made 41 pitching appearances over the past three seasons, made his first career start at designated hitter. Tourangeau, who had his first-ever at-bat as a pinch hitter this past Wednesday against NC State, delivered an RBI single in his first plate appearance today.
n True freshman left-hander Jason Neitz made his collegiate debut when he relieved starter Will Brinson in the fifth inning. Redshirt freshman right-hander Kevin Rhodes also made his ECU debut in the eighth.
n The game was halted for a short, four-minute rain delay in the bottom of the eighth inning.