Ian Townsend leads ECU’s offensive turnaround

Published 12:36 pm Sunday, March 16, 2014



By Michael Prunka

Sports Intern

East Carolina (10-10, 3-3 Conference-USA) finally found its offensive stride in Saturday’s doubleheader versus Tulane (10-8, 3-3 C-USA). The Pirates claimed both games to win their first conference series, doing so in dominant fashion.

The offense exploded in the second inning of Game 2 when the Pirates hit four home runs. Ian Townsend hit two of those four home runs, accounting for four of the inning’s eight runs. Between the two games, Townsend batted 7-for-9 with three runs and seven RBI.

“I’m really proud of our team,” said manager Billy Godwin. “We challenged them last night a little bit after the game. They certainly listened and played unbelievably today, and I’m really proud of their effort.”

Coming into Saturday, ECU had three home runs on the season. Scoring had been stagnant, with the exception of two eight-run performances—one in a win over Campbell and another in a loss to Marshall. By the conclusion of the two games, the Pirates tallied another five home runs and scored a season-high 13 runs in their 13-3 victory in Game 2. The win only took eight innings because ECU was automatically awarded the win once it took a 10-run lead.

“Timely hitting is what we’ve been struggling with,” said Townsend. “We’ve been getting the hits, we just haven’t been able to put it together with guys in scoring position. That second inning really showed that we can do some damage.”

The team was looking for the one hit necessary to spark the offense. It finally came in the sixth inning of Game 1 when Townsend hit an RBI single up the middle to give ECU a 2-0 lead. They ended up winning 5-2.

“I thought Townsend’s at bat, I think it was 2-2 and he drills the ball up the middle,” said Godwin. “I thought that was big. Okay, we can breathe and we took the lead. The guys just followed that up. I think that was the one big hit and I think he had an outstanding day.”

Ryan Williams (6-1) was credited with his fifth and sixth wins of the season. He pitched a combined 8.1 innings of relief and surrendered no runs and on seven hits between the two games.

Next up on the schedule is a Wednesday matchup versus VCU in Clark-LeClair Stadium. After that, the Pirates will hit the road to take on Charlotte in their next Conference-USA series.