PirateIllustrated - Air Force Flies Past Pirates Late For a 3-2 Monday Victory
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Air Force Flies Past Pirates Late For a 3-2 Monday Victory

Bryant Packard made his return to the lineup in the eighth inning but Air Force scored in the ninth to take a 3-2 win.
Bryant Packard made his return to the lineup in the eighth inning but Air Force scored in the ninth to take a 3-2 win. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

Gabe Martinez slapped a home run in the top of the ninth inning to break a 2-2 tie and give Air Force a 3-2 victory over ECU Monday evening in Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Nathan Price was credited with the victory for Air Force(5-3), going five innings of two hit work, giving up just one run with two strikeouts. Price entered in relief for Zach Argo who lasted four innings, giving up one hit and a run on 68 pitches.

Alec Burleson was the only player with more than one hit for ECU with two. Meanwhile, Ashton Easley went 2-4 with a triple and a run and Alexander Pup went 2-3 at the plate for the Falcons.

It was the second straight loss for the nationally ranked Pirates and their third in the last five games.

“Kuchmaner did a good job for his first start of the year. I think he pounded the strike zone for the most part, got out of some jams with some pickoffs and Barnes gave us everything he had,” Cliff Godwin said after the game, “Three runs should definitely win a game. We didn’t put enough at-bats together and their pitchers did a good job against us.”

Brady Lloyd’s sac grounder to first brought Turner Brown for a run that gave ECU their first lead of the day at 1-0.

In the top of the fourth, Drew Wiss knocked his second homer of the season off of Pirate starter Jake Kuchmaner. Then an RBI ground out from Martinez allowed Ashton Easley who had tripled on the prior at-bat to score from third to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead.

Kuchmaner lasted five innings for ECU giving up a pair of runs on six hits in 64 pitches before Cam Colmore came on in relief. Zach Barnes(0-2) came on in relief of Colemore in the top of the seventh and took the loss for ECU(5-3).

After three silent offensive innings from the Pirates, Bryant Packard returned to the lineup in the eighth inning where his grounder to first moved Ryder Giles to second base. Then Alec Burleson knocked a base hit to left centerfield that allowed Giles to score to tie the game at 2-2.

“He came up with a base knock to tie the game,” Godwin said afterward, “We just needed to string more quality at bats together. We talked about that up and down the lineup. Yesterday we scored five runs and that’s always our goal.”

But in the top of the ninth, Martinez’s homer off of ECU’s Zach Barnes to left put the Falcons back up 3-2 and proved to be the difference in the contest.

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