baseball Edit

Holba Tosses Two-Hitter and ECU Hammers North Carolina 12-0

Chris Holba and East Carolina pick up a Sunday win in Chapel Hill to take the weekend series 2-1 over UNC.
Chris Holba and East Carolina pick up a Sunday win in Chapel Hill to take the weekend series 2-1 over UNC. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

Chris Holba threw a seven-inning two hitter as East Carolina ran roughshod in a convincing 12-0 win over (6)North Carolina Sunday afternoon in Boshamer Stadium.

Holba(2-0) registered eight strikeouts in 91 pitches to pick up his second victory of the season.

Rodney Hutchison(0-1) gave up three runs in three and a third innings and took the loss for UNC.

With the win ECU moves to 6-1 while the Tar Heels fall to 3-5.

Holba fell behind the first two runners, but pitching coach Dan Roszel came out for a talk and that seemingly got the Pirate right hander refocused.

“On the first two hitters I was just too fine and that’s not a characteristic of our pitching staff. We attack guys and he came out and reminded me of that and we got back to what we do best here and that’s attack hitters and challenge them,” Holba said.

Holba’s fastball was right at 91 MPH throughout the day and he had good movement and excellent location, but it was the two-seem and off speed stuff that proved to be his bread and butter on this day.

“The off speed was big. I thought that was probably the worst fastball that I’ve had in a really long time. I really didn’t know where it was going so I had to be big and show it just to keep them honest,” said Holba.

“The win was awesome to step toward the direction we want to go, but we’ll look forward to the next game," Holba said, "Of course a few years ago we beat UVA before in a big series like this and we kind of let off the gas peddle, so it will be a big point of emphasis to see how we respond to a weekend like this and see if we can bring it against another team.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Chandler Jenkins singled a Hutchinson pitch off the outside of the plate and Spencer Brickhouse scampered home from second base to get ECU on the scoreboard first for a 1-0 lead. Then Jake Washer hammered a triple off the left centerfield wall to score two more ECU runs and extend the Pirate lead to 3-0.

Cliff Godwin talked about the three-run fourth inning that all occurred with two outs and seemingly set the tone for the rest of the ballgame.

“Our guys have had tough at bats all weekend especially last night and tonight. We never feel like we’re out of an inning throughout. They keep battling and keep competing and we’re able to score some runs,” said ECU head coach Cliff Godwin.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to Chris Holba the way he went out there and pitched today,” Godwin said, “Our bullpen wasn’t deep. We still had some guys available, but for him to go out and pitch out of the first inning jam - he kind of created it on his own, but to strike out Busch and then to get a ground ball was huge because Hutchinson was really good early. Once we got him in the stretch he played down a little bit."

Brett Daniels came on in relief of Hutchinson who was lifted with two outs in the fourth frame after walking Dwanya Williams-Sutton. With ECU runners on the corners, Daniels struck out Dusty Baker on a check swing to quell the Pirate threat.

With Pirate runners on the corners in the top of the sixth, Jake Washer’s line drive to right center gave ECU a 4-0 cushion.

Dallas Tesser finally broke up the ECU no hitter with a UNC base hit before a Pirate double-play ended the sixth inning.

The Pirates tacked on a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth innings on UNC right hander Cooper Criswell to extend the lead to 8-0 before he was lifted for fellow right hander Hanson Butler. Bryant Packard then reached on an error from UNC first baseman Mike Busch and Dusty Baker scored to make it 9-0.

Connor Litton’s base hit to left scored another ECU run in the eighth and suddenly it was 10-Zip Pirates. Then after a Henrickson walk that loaded the bags, Butler walked Jake Washer to score another run and make it 11-0.

ECU added one more run in the ninth inning, loading the bases for Spencer Brickhouse whose sac fly brought home Jeremy Whitehead for his first career run.

The Pirates next take on Old Dominion next Wednesday in Greenville with the first pitch scheduled for 4 o’clock.