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East Carolina Sweeps Memphis

East Carolina right-hander Tyler Smith gave up just one run in 91 pitches in his Sunday start against Memphis.
East Carolina right-hander Tyler Smith gave up just one run in 91 pitches in his Sunday start against Memphis. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

East Carolina scored six runs in the eighth inning and continued their winning ways with a 7-1 Sunday win over Memphis for a weekend sweep. In the process the Pirates extended their overall win streak to nine games.

With the victory, the Pirates remain unbeaten in conference play at 8-0 and are in a tight race with Wichita State at the moment that swept Houston over the weekend. ECU has won 18 straight at home.

“I told them I was proud of them and told them that it started with Smitty. I was super proud of Smitty to go out there and do what he is capable of doing. He has his good stuff today and when we needed it, he executed a ton of pitches,” said ECU head coach Cliff Godwin, “He hung a breaking ball to Trela and he made him pay for it but it’s a solo home run and we were able to get out of that inning, keep grinding and get to the bottom of the eighth inning. A lot of tough at bats when we had too.”

Godwin outlined what he felt were two of the big points in the contest on Sunday.

“The turning point was two things. When Cam gave up a leadoff double in the eighth inning and they didn’t choose to bunt. I think he got behind 3-0 and he struck the guy out and got out of the inning,” said Godwin, “Then Norby lines the ball off the pitcher, gets to first base, Franny hits an opposite field single.”

“Then I asked Seth Caddell, can you get this bunt down and he said Coach I can do it. I don’t know where it’s going to go but I promise you I’ll get it down,” said Godwin, “and off a guy who is tough to bunt off of. That’s their guy, their closer. He’s throwing 92-94 with a hammer of a breaking ball and Seth got it done. Then Josh Moylan when it mattered got a big swing and we kept rolling. Bryson’s big swing, Lane walked and a lot of guys did some great things on the bases to allow us to extend and of course Ryley Johnson’s home run. Super proud of our guys. They did an unbelievable job to finish this thing off.”

Seth Caddell’s first inning home run gave East Carolina(26-5/8-0 AAC) an early 1-0 lead.

Memphis tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning on an Alec Trela left field homer off of ECU starter Tyler Smith who lasted five and two-third innings before Cam Colmore(4-0) came on in relief to get the win. Smith allowed just the one run on seven hits with three strikeouts in 91 pitches.

“I don’t think we have any opportunity to win the game without Tyler Smith today,” said Godwin, “Our bullpen was depleted. Not that we didn’t have some guys down there who were fresh and could pitch, but we needed some length from our starter and Smitty gave us that today.”

“Every time I take the mound I always have a responsibility just going out there and competing as long and hard as I can for the team,” said Smith.

Getting the much needed win to sweep Memphis has to be a confidence boost for Smith who talked about it afterwards.

“Nothing has really changed since the beginning of the season,” Smith told PirateIllustrated.com, “I still have the same routine I do every week. Yeah, it gives me confidence when I go back out there next week but as long as I am sticking to my routine and letting my defense work, knowing the offense is going to do their job, there’s really nothing to worry about.”

Chris Durham(2-3) got the Sunday start for Memphis(11-19/1-7 AAC), lasting seven innings and was credited with giving up five hits and three earned runs.

ECU heated up offensively in the eighth when Josh Moylan’s base hit to right off of Memphis reliever Walker Brickhouse allowed both Thomas Francisco and Connor Norby to score. Bryson Worrell then added an RBI hit to right to score another run that extended the ECU lead to three runs. Then a throwing error followed by a wild pitch and produced two more runs before Ryley Johnson homered to right field to make it 7-1.

The Pirates take to the road next week when the Pirates travel to Houston for the first of a four-game set in AAC play with a Friday double-header beginning at 3 o’clock.

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