PIRATES SINK MONMOUTH: Sweep eludes ECU in Sunday’s loss
Published 6:02 pm Sunday, March 20, 2016
GREENVILLE — After clinching a series win Saturday night, the East Carolina baseball team dropped an unusual 4-0 contest against Monmouth Sunday.
Monmouth (7-11) starter Ricky Dennis (2-2) rolled through 6 1/3 innings without allowing a Pirate batter to reach base. The junior, who entered the game with a 6.75 ERA and a WHIP over two, hit Charlie Yorgen with a pitch to allow the first base runner. With a no-hitter still intact to start the eighth, Dennis walked Bryce Harman and allowed Kirk Morgan to single in the next at bat.
With two on and no outs, trailing 4-0, Garrett Brooks roped a line drive over Morgan’s head a first base, but straight into the glove of Shaine Hughes. Hughes promptly applied a tag to Morgan and threw onto second to pull off a triple play and end the threat. The Pirates went quietly in the ninth against reliever Justin Andrews to end the game.
“He threw every pitch he had for a strike, he got ahead with off speed and that kind of counteracted our approach,” said Yorgen on what made hitting against Dennis so difficult. “As hitters, that was pathetic. We didn’t make adjustments, we hit lazy fly balls, we were out in front on everything and we were pretty slow.”
ECU (13-7) starter Davis Kirkpatrick (0-1) didn’t fare much better than the ECU offense. Kirkpatrick was thrust in as the starter after Jimmy Boyd was used in relief Saturday. The sophomore lasted just three innings and allowed two runs on three hits and surrendered a pair of walks. Both runs were scored on two-out RBI double off Kirkpatrick.
Boyd came in to relieve Kirkpatrick despite Saturday’s innings. He delivered a decent performance over 4 1/3 innings. With two outs in the fourth, Justin Trochiano slapped a solo home run to make it 3-0. Boyd was charged with the fourth and final run in the eighth after being relieved with runners on the corners and one out. Joe Ingle came on and allowed an RBI single to Ryan Bailey to plate Pete Papcun.
“I’m sorry that you guys had to watch this to be quite honest with you, as far as offense goes,” said ECU head coach Cliff Godwin to the media following the loss. “If it wasn’t for Jimmy Boyd, we would’ve gotten beat 10-0.”
The unusual weekend kicked off Friday night where Parker Lamm scored on a walk off wild pitch to push ECU to a 4-3 win.
Lamm singled with one out in the ninth and Yorgen followed with a double to move Lamm to third. Monmouth’s James Kelly was set to intentionally walk Travis Watkins to load the bases, but his first attempt landed in the dirt and his second throw squeezed by Clay Koniencki and allowed Lamm to score.
Turner Brown drove in two runs Friday on his lone hit, which tied the game in the eighth inning.
Saturday, the Pirates dropped Monmouth, 5-2, behind Jacob Wolfe’s impressive start. The junior southpaw tossed seven innings of five-hit ball and did not surrender a run. In the eighth inning, freshman Chris Holba took the hill and allowed two runs on five pitches.
Boyd took the win in relief as the Pirates scratched across three runs in the eighth inning of a tied game. Brooks singled to start the inning and moved to second on a Brown sacrifice bunt. Jeff Nelson drew a walk and Bryce Harman did the same in the next at bat. Lamm plated Brooks with a single. Yorgen’s four-pitch walk brought home Nelson and Watkins’s sac fly plated Harman to give ECU the 5-2 final lead.
Lamm injured his thumb on the final play trying to score and is considered day-to-day but made an appearance as a pinch runner Sunday.
Godwin said series wins are important, though his team must learn to close out series and earn sweeps.
“You have a chance to sweep a team on your home floor and it’s just disappointing,” Godwin said. “Any time you can win a series, that’s a goal, but you want to sweep and that was our goal today. We’re looking to host a regional and host a super regional, we’ve got to learn to finish series. We didn’t do that today.”
The Pirates will have an off day Monday before hitting the road to face Duke Tuesday.