East Carolina University’s baseball team defeated Old Dominion University 10-3 last night, improving to 5-0 at home for the season.
Head coach Cliff Godwin gave freshman Jake Kuchmanor the first start of his collegiate career, picking up the win while allowing three earned runs on four hits, a walk and striking out two batters. Though ODU was aggressive, Kuchmanor was hot on the mound.
“(I started him) just because of the way he pitched at Campbell and just the fact that he’s started his entire life,” head coach Godwin said. “I felt confident that he could go out there and throw strikes, and throw three pitches for strikes.”
ECU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning with RBI from freshman designated hitter Alec Burleson on an infield single, sophomore first baseman Spencer Brickhouse fielder’s choice and junior right fielder Dwanya Williams-Sutton’s base hit through the left side.
ODU scored its first run, with center fielder Matt Schwarz cutting ECU’s lead to 3-1 in the second inning, but sophomore left fielder Bryant Packard hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to increase the Pirate lead to 5-1.
Freshman catcher Seth Caddell plated another run with an RBI groundout in the third inning, but the Monarch’s scored twice in fifth to cut the Pirate lead to 6-3. But in the bottom of the seventh, pinch-hitter Chandler Jenkin’s launched a three-run homer to put away ODU for good.
The bats came alive once again for the Pirates as they recorded 11 hits on the night. ECU is now 5-0 when posting double digit hits in a game. Despite not recording an RBI, junior third baseman Connor Litten was named player of the game after going 3-for-4 and 2 runs scored and is now batting .467 for the season.
“I’m just seeing the ball well and just going by the strides,” Litten said. “I just got to let the hands do the work and I’m big and strong enough to put the ball in play.”
The Pirates will host the first game of the 15th annual LeClair Classic tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. against Pepperdine University, followed by game two against Missouri State University on Saturday and concluding the series against Saint Joseph University on Sunday.