For the second time this season, the East Carolina University baseball team used a big inning to defeat the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as ECU scored all of its runs in the fifth inning on its way to a 5-4 win on Wednesday at Brooks Field in Wilmington, North Carolina.
ECU defeated UNCW 6-4 on April 3, due in large part to a four-run second inning. This time, it was the five-run fifth inning which propelled ECU to victory. In both instances, the Seahawks scored first, but were not able to bounce back after losing momentum to the Pirates.
ECU improves to 35-12 while UNCW falls to 29-18. It is the 10th straight road win for the Pirates, and they are 18-2 in road games this season, which is the second-best road record in the country. ECU is now 2-0 to start the week ahead of its big AAC home series against the University of Cincinnati this weekend.
ECU was led by sophomore first baseman Spencer Brickhouse, who went 3-for-3 with a two-run triple which highlighted ECU’s big fifth inning. Freshman first baseman Alec Burleson went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Dwanya Williams-Sutton went 2-for-5 for the Pirates. Zach Barnes (2-0) got the win for the Pirates, pitching two innings of relief and giving up one run.
The game couldn’t have gone differently for the two teams’ pitchers. ECU starter Jake Agnos used 68 pitches to get through just two innings of work, allowing two runs and walking four hitters. The UNCW starter Landen Roupp worked four scoreless innings, striking out five batters despite walking three as well.
The game changed for both sides once Agnos and Roupp came out and the bullpen went to work. ECU’s bullpen pitchers worked seven innings, allowed just two runs, six hits and struck out nine batters while walking two. UNCW’s bullpen gave up five runs in the fifth inning before settling in the rest of the way.
Chris Joyner could not get an out for UNCW and was pulled after he walked Packard to lead off the inning and gave up a single to Williams-Sutton. Luke Gessel then came in to pitch and did not fare better. Gessel, who got the loss in the game, immediately gave up the two-run triple to Brickhouse. The rest of the inning for Gessel featured two walks, and a RBI single. The defense fell apart in the inning as well, as a ground ball by shortstop Turner Brown went right through the second baseman’s legs for an error which cost the Seahawks two runs and gave ECU the final lead.
ECU moves to focus on its AAC home series with the University of Cincinnati this weekend. ECU is still tied for second in the AAC with the University of South Florida and Connecticut, while Cincinnati sits one game right behind it in fifth place. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium.