PIRATES DROWN DOLPHINS: Tyler erupts in series-clinching shutout

Published 5:15 pm Saturday, March 26, 2016

MICHAEL PRUNKA | DAILY NEWS INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Eric Tyler makes a cut on a pitch by Jacksonville’s Michael Baumann. Tyler batted in eight runs in Saturday’s series-clinching win.

INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Eric Tyler makes a cut on a pitch by Jacksonville’s Michael Baumann. Tyler batted in eight runs in Saturday’s series-clinching win.

GREENVILLE — Eric Tyler mashed two home runs and recorded a school-record eight RBI in East Carolina baseball’s series-clinching 13-0 win over Jacksonville.

Tyler set the tone for the game in the first inning. After two quick outs in the frame, Travis Watkins picked up his first of three hits in four at bats with a single. Zach Mozingo walked and Tyler hammered his first home run to left field to put ECU on top, 3-0.

The junior drove in Charlie Yorgen with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to plate ECU’s sixth run of the day and his fourth RBI.

Already leading 9-0 in the eighth inning, Tyler tacked on four more runs with a grand slam off the left field foul pole to give him a school-record eight RBI on the day.

“It’s incredible, especially to do it in a series-clinching win,” Tyler said. “I’m proud of the approaches we took offensively today. We had a goal from pitch one and we did well with it.”

ECU head coach Cliff Godwin was thrilled for his utility player that has found a home a third base this year. After hitting sub-.200 in his freshman season, Tyler has tirelessly worked to improve and it has paid dividends with an average creeping up to .300 and a team-leading four home runs.

“It couldn’t happen to a better person as the guy to go down as the single-game RBI leader,” Godwin said. “I’m proud that his name is going down into the record books because he does things the right way on and off the field and he works hard every single day so I’m really happy for him.”

Nine-hole hitter Garrett Brooks provided the rest of the ECU offense. The senior center fielder belted a two-out home run in the fourth inning. After a two-out single from Turner Brown, Brooks pushed a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall to extend the lead to 5-0.

While the ECU bats went to work, Jimmy Boyd put together perhaps his strongest start of the season on the mound. The senior worked through seven scoreless innings and allowed just four hits and two walks.

“I was comfortable and I was settling in,” Boyd said. “Coach (Dan) Rozell talks about it all the time, how we approach every batter and how we’re going to go after things. I just stuck with our game plan and stayed within myself. I stuck with what we do every day and it worked out for us.”

After Godwin used five relief pitchers in Saturday’s loss, the rest was welcomed for the bullpen.

After Boyd’s seven innings of work, Chris Holba and Denny Brady shut down the Dolphins in the eighth and ninth to finish the shutout.

The Pirates dropped the middle game of the series in an 8-6 offensive showcase.

Jacob Wolfe (2-2) took the loss and lasted just 2 2/3 innings while allowing four runs off four hits. Wolfe struggled to find the zone and issued three walks and hit a batter.

TOUGH LOSS: Jacob Wolfe tosses a pitch against Jacksonville on Friday. He gave up four runs in 2 1/3 innings of work to take his second loss of the campaign.

After allowing two runs in the first inning, Jacksonville tagged the junior southpaw for two more runs in the third. Wolfe surrendered a single to open the inning, hit the following batter and walked the bases loaded. Seth DeWitt then reached on a fielder’s choice while Parker Perez broke a 2-2 tie.

Sam Lanier walked in a run later in the inning, though the run was charged to Wolfe.

Turner Brown and Garrett Brooks made it a one-run game in the sixth while each recording an RBI single.

Leading 5-4, the Dolphins started to pull away with a three-run seventh inning. Freshman Matt Bridges allowed JJ Gould to double to start off the inning before he was pulled for reliever Nick Durazo. He failed to record an out and was charged with two runs. Dakota Julylia’s single plated two runs and gave Jacksonville an 8-4 lead.

ECU responded with two runs in the eighth, including Dwanya Williams-Sutton’s third RBI of the game, but the comeback effort came up shot.

The Pirates will stay at home for the week with a Tuesday matchup with UNC Wilmington before facing Houston over the weekend.