ECU edges past Elon
ELON — John Wooten’s sac fly in the 10th inning scored Tim Younger from third giving No. 24 East Carolina (23-8-1) a 3-2 win over Elon (19-15) Tuesday night at Latham Park in midweek action.
Younger, who was 2-for-2 and reached base four times on the night, led off the 10th with a double down the left field line. Drew Reynolds moved him over to third on a sac bunt and after Corey Thompson put runners on first and second with a free pass, Wooten lifted a fly ball off Nate Young deep enough to center scoring Younger for the game-winning run.
Though he didn’t factor in the decision tonight, true freshman Jeff Hoffman was electric for the Pirates tossing eight shutout innings scattering three hits and fanning a career-best 10 batters. The right-hander from Latham, N.Y. faced five over the minimum and at one point retired 13-straight before hitting Garrett Koster in the eighth inning with one out.
Reynolds (3-0), who relieved Hoffman in the ninth was touched for two runs (both unearned) in two innings of working picking up his third win of the season. The sophomore from Cherryville allowed three singles, two of which were infield hits, and wound up blowing his second save of the season.
Jordan Darnell (0-1) suffered the loss surrendering all three runs (all earned) on three hits in 3.1 innings of work. Starter David Whitehead tossed six shutout innings allowing six hits, walking three and striking out two. Young recorded the final two outs, one by way of strikeout.
The Pirates had their opportunities to score early and often as nine of their 10 leadoff hitters reached base, but solid defense by the Phoenix, which included four double plays, kept the game scoreless until the ninth frame. In all, the Pirates left eight men on base with six of those in scoring position.
With two outs in the ninth, Zach Wright walked for the third time in the game and took third on a hit and run by pinch hitter Bryan Bass. Jack Reinheimer followed with a two-RBI double off Darnell, a former high school teammate at Audrey Kell, scoring both Wright and Bass for a 2-0 advantage.
Elon responded with two unearned runs in the bottom half of the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Alex Swim reached on an infield single to first and advanced to second on a one-out grounder to second by Sebastian Gomez. With two outs, designated hitter Joey Tomko lifted a short fly ball to center in what seemed to be the final out of the night, but a miscommunication between centerfielder Ben Fultz and Younger caused a collision jarring the ball loose and allowing Swim to score and Tomko to reach on an error. After Blaine Bower entered the game for Tomko as a pinch runner, Koster singled to right center putting runners on the corner. A double steal by Koster and Bower accounted for Elon’s second run, which knotted the game at two.
Offensively, the Pirates recorded nine hits with Reinheimer and Younger each collecting two. Reynolds extended his hit streak to 11 games with a single in the first frame, while Thompson’s (0-for-3) 10-game streak came to an end.
The Pirates will continue non-conference play Wednesday night when they play host to former Colonial Athletic Association foe Old Dominion. Right-hander Deshorn Lake (0-1, 6.75) will make his first collegiate start against righty Greg Tomchick (0-2, 6.41 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.