Brandt corrals Thundering Herd
Published 9:52 pm Friday, May 4, 2012
GREENVILLE — Pitching in what may be his final appearance inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, senior ace Kevin Brandt made sure it was a memorable outing as he scattered six hits over eight innings and picked off three base runners to lead East Carolina to an 8-2 win over Marshall on Friday.
Brandt (6-4) benefited from some early run support as the Pirates (29-16-1, 11-7-1) rallied for five runs in the first two innings. With a healthy lead in hand, Brandt cruised through Conference-USA cellar-dweller Marshall’s lineups for the better part of eight innings to get the win in what is likely his last home start.
“It’s huge. It really hasn’t sank in yet,” Brandt said. “I remember being here as a freshman four years ago and watching guys like (Stephen) Batts and all those guys leaving and that feels like it was last week. It really hasn’t sank in yet but the fans here have been great. This is absolutely a place I’m going to miss playing in.”
The Pirates made sure Brandt would not go out on a sour note as Zach Wright hit a sac fly to score Drew Reynolds in the first inning and then ECU tacked on four more runs in the second.
Ben Fultz laced a two-run double into right field to score Jay Cannon and Jack Reinheimer to put ECU up 3-0 before Reynolds hit an opposite field single to plate Fultz and John Wooten drilled a single to score Fultz to take a 5-0 advantage.
The Pirates offensive assault made sure Thundering Herd starter Lace Elder (1-5) would not make out of the second inning.
Wooten led East Carolina going 3-4 with two RBIs, while Reynolds went 3-5 and drove in a run. Pirates’ slugger Chase McDonald also enjoyed a strong day at the plate as he went 2-4 and drove in two runs when he hit a screaming line drive that carried over the right field fence for a home run off of Terrance Moore in the seventh inning.
“I thought it was a solid win,” ECU coach Billy Godwin said. “We came out and put up five runs in the first two innings and Kevin settled in and pitched great. We played good defense. When you get 14 hits and score eight runs, pitch and play defense you’re going to get wins.”
Marshall erased the zero from its run column in the sixth when Sergio Leon’s RBI single brought home Mikey Jimenez. The Herd scored its final run in the ninth off of Pirates reliever Austin Chrismon when Erik Semeniuk singled home Eric Escobedo.
Aside from that, the hits were few and far between for the Herd, and when runners did get on Brandt made sure they didn’t go far as he picked off Jimenez, Andrew Dundon and Thor Meeks to up his C-USA-leading total to seven pick offs.
“I think that’s huge,” Godwin said. “When we can control the running game with him I think that’s big. It snubs out any thought or chance they have of trying to get back in the game and I think all three of those were either with no outs or one out.”
The Pirates will resume their series with Marshall today at 2 p.m.