ECU splits doubleheader to win series

Published 12:06 am Saturday, April 19, 2014



By Michael Prunka

For The Washington Daily News


East Carolina split its Good Friday doubleheader with Middle Tennessee. Despite minimal offensive production, the Pirates were able to secure the win necessary to take the series.

The season opener was a one-run performance that, because of Jeff Hoffman’s excellent pitching, resulted in a win. In Friday’s doubleheader, the Pirates only scored a total of six runs.

“We’ve got so many games left,” said head coach Billy Godwin. “We got to come out and every game is important. We’re not going to win them all, but we certainly need to do a little bit better than we did in Game 1. That’s kind of what I told them between games and they responded.”

ECU got off to a rough start in Game 1. Middle Tennessee jumped ahead in the top of the first inning on a two-run blast to left field by Jared Allen, which held up as the game-winning hit.

Middle Tennessee added another run in the top of the sixth and the Pirates finally made it on the board in the bottom of the inning. The Blue Raiders would put the game out of reach in the seventh inning with a three-run showing. Trent Miller’s sac-fly RBI and Allen’s second home run of the game gave them a 6-1 lead that would earn them a win.

“The two-run homer,” Godwin said, “you come out and you look flat in Game 1 because you get down two runs. I thought the pitch [Brett] Mabry threw was actually a pretty good pitch. It kind of puts you back on your heels a little bit and you can never recover.”

After a 45-minute break, however, the Pirates returned to the field for Game 2 and appeared unfazed.

Zach Houchins gave ECU a sizeable lead early on. Kirk Morgan was walked and reached scoring position via Drew Reynolds’ single. Houchins stepped up and drilled a three-run homer to left field that, much like Allen’s two-run shot in the previous game, proved to be the winning hit.

“I got into a two-strike count,” said Houchins. “I’m very comfortable in a two-strike count. He threw the fastball and I thought I could handle it and I just tried to drive it somewhere.”

ECU extended its lead to 5-0 by scoring a pair of runs on wild pitches in the sixth and seventh innings. The Blue Raiders wandered onto the scoreboard in the top of the eighth by scoring on a throwing error, but that’s all their offense would produce.

The Pirates return to action Monday. They will host Old Dominion in a non-conference matchup that will serve as a makeup game for both sides.