ECU Falls 6-2 to Wichita State in AAC First Round Tourney Action
Wichita State pulled off a big 6-2 upset of (5)ECU Tuesday afternoon in a first round shocker in the AAC baseball tournament at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
Alex Segal came on late to pick up the win and improve to 1-1. Jacob Lindemann picked up the save while Gavin Williams absorbed the loss to dip to 1-4 on the season for ECU(42-14)
Ross Cadina had three hits for Wichita State to go along with two hits each from Jordan Boyer and Paxton Wallace but it was Brady Slavens’ three-run homer in the ninth that put an inordinate amount of pressure on the Pirates in the final inning.
Brady Lloyd collected three hits, Alec Burleson had two and Jake Washer had a home run, but in the end it wasn’t enough on Tuesday for the Pirates.
“If you keep playing, good things happen and the Shockers had a good day today. ECU is really good. They’re a national seed and to beat them twice is really big,” said Wichita State head coach Todd Butler, “Clayton McGinness was the key to the game. He was our starting pitcher. He pitched against East Carolina two weeks ago and we won 2-1. He had great success today.”
McGinness lasted six and a third innings, giving up just one earned run before pitching five scoreless innings giving up five hits with three strikeouts in 106 pitches before Alex Segal came on in relief for the Shockers.
ECU head coach Cliff Godwin expressed his disappointment in Tuesday’s first round result.
“They played better than us. We didn’t deserve to win, they deserved to win,” said Godwin after the game, “That’s the great thing about baseball where it wasn’t good for us today, but the best team doesn’t win, the team that plays the best does. They played way better than we did today.”
The game was even at 1-1 until the eighth inning when the Shockers scored a run to take the lead and then scored four more in the ninth frame to seal the deal.
Alec Burleson went six innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts for ECU before yielding to Gavin Williams. Williams went an inning and a third before Evan Voliva and Ryder Giles worked in relief for the Pirates.
Godwin talked about Burleson's performance on the mound for ECU.
“He pitched his tail off and gave us a chance to win, but we didn’t play good enough,” Godwin stated, “We didn’t execute good enough. We had the bases loaded with one out and don’t get a swing off on a 3-1 count which we should have been up a run. We didn’t execute pitches late when it was a close game, so we didn’t deserve to win.”
“They deserved to win. They hit a big three-run jack which was the difference in the game because the whole ninth inning would have played out differently.”
In the bottom of the first inning ECU got on the scoreboard first when Alec Burleson’s double off the left field wall brought Spencer Brickhouse across home plate for a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Boyer scored on an Alec Burleson wild pitch in the third inning to even the score at 1-1.
Wichita State(27-29) recaptured the lead in the eighth when Ross Cadena singled to centerfield and Paxton Wallace scored to make it 2-1.
In the ninth inning, Paxton Wallace slapped a Ryder Giles fastball to right field with Shockers on first and third and David VanVooren scored for Wichita State to make it 3-1.
In case that wasn’t enough, Brady Slavens lofted his first career homer off of ECU reliever Ryder Giles, good for three runs, to extend the Wichita State lead to 6-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Mitchell Walters came on in the ninth to pitch for the Shockers and Jake Washer promptly deposited a home run over the left field wall to cut the Wichita lead to 6-2. It was the first homer Walters has given up all season. Brady Lloyd and Connor Jenkins both registered base hits prompting big 6-3 sophomore pitcher Jacob Lindemann to come on in relief for Walters.
The Pirates loaded the bases for Spencer Brickhouse with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but his grounder to second base ended the contest.
ECU will take on Houston in the first game Tuesday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the loser’s bracket when AAC Tournament action continues in Clearwater.