East Carolina Splits Double-Header With Tulane on Saturday
In a game that saw five lead changes, Tulane came back in the eighth inning with a two-run Ethan Groff bomb off of Pirate reliever Ryder Giles that put the Green Wave in the driver seat to pick up a 7-6 win over (13)ECU on Senior Day in Clark-LeClair Stadium on Saturday.
ECU(32-10/14-5 AAC) starter Jake Kuchmaner lasted just two innings after giving up three earned runs on six hits with no strikeouts in 33 pitches. That brought on Garrett Saylor on who put in three and two-thirds innings of work, yielding two runs on three hits with four strikeouts. Garrett Saylor and A.J. Wilson also saw action in relief for the Pirates.
Donovan Beniot got the start for Tulane in game two on Saturday and lasted a season high 108 pitches. Beniot gave up four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and five walks. Clifton Slagel improved to 2-0 with the win, Keagan Gilles got the save and Ryder Giles fell to 1-1 with the loss for ECU.
“Their pitching is good and we just didn’t play good enough baseball. We didn’t play good enough defense, we didn’t pitch good enough and we didn’t hit well enough either,” said ECU head coach Cliff Godwin, “But it definitely wasn’t that we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. We didn’t play clean enough baseball to win game two.”
Godwin was complementary of the team’s attentiveness and fire on Saturday and hopes that carries over into Sunday.
“It’s the best our guys have been with energy,” Godwin said, “You get down 2-0 and then you put up a three spot, they score a run, we score a run. Our guys were fighting for sure. Definitely a long day and we split and we’re 2-1. We have a chance to win the series tomorrow. You put yourself in a position to win the series against the first place team and that’s all you can ask for going into Sunday.”
(22)Tulane(25-16/14-4 AAC) scored two runs in the first inning before ECU answered with with a run on a wild pitch and a Zach Agnos two-run home run that gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
The Green Wave was at it again in the second inning with a Walker Burchfield RBI double down the left field line that brought Ethan Groff home that tied the game. But (13)ECU returned fire with a Connor Norby sac fly that allowed Ben Newton to score to give ECU a 4-3 lead.
In the fifth frame, Luis Aviles doubled to right centerfield to score a pair of Tulane runs and the Green Wave recaptured the lead at 5-4.
Alec Makarewicz slapped a hit down the right field line in the sixth to score a run and tie the contest. Then a Zach Agnos double down the left field line gave ECU a 6-5 lead.
In the eighth, Giles entered in relief of A.J. Wilson and Ethan Groff took him deep for the massive two-run shot that allowed Tulane to reclaim a 7-6 lead and the rest was history.
(13)ECU took a half game lead in the AAC with a 7-4 win over Tulane in game two of the weekend set.
Tyler Smith went four and two-thirds on the mound, giving up a pair of runs on five hits and three strikeouts in his Saturday start before Cam Colmore came on to officially pick up the victory.
Collin Burns got Tulane on the scoreboard first on an RBI base hit to centerfield in the third inning for a 1-0 lead.
East Carolina(32-9/14-4 AAC) got after it in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs to open up a 4-1 lead.
Then in the fifth frame (22)Tulane(24-16/13-4 AAC) loaded the bases but only scored one run on a Luis Aviles walk that cut the Pirate lead to 4-2.
A two-run base knock from Josh Moylan to right centerfield brought Bryson Worrell and Seth Caddell across home plate as the lead grew to 6-2.
Then with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Jacob Larrairie’s base hit to right field scored a pair of Green Wave runs and suddenly the lead was back down to two.
But Connor Norby’s twelfth homer of the season in the bottom of the frame and his second round tripper of the weekend pushed the ECU cushion right back up to a field goal at 7-4.
Just before the end of the game, Tulane assistant coach Jay Uhlman was then tossed from the game with two outs in the ninth for having words with the umpire from the dugout.
The two teams complete the weekend series on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Godwin announced that Carson Whisenhunt will make his return to the mound for game four after coming off of an injury and will be on a pitch count but will get the baseball first in the final game of the Tulane series.