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ECU Picks Up 5-3 Senior Night Game Two Win Over Memphis

Jake Kuchmaner and ECU pick up a 5-3 senior night win over Memphis in Clark-LeClair Stadium to win the series.
Jake Kuchmaner and ECU pick up a 5-3 senior night win over Memphis in Clark-LeClair Stadium to win the series. ( photo)

Jake Kuchmaner and (6)ECU got the job done again Friday night with a 5-3 win over Memphis. Kuchmaner improved to 6-1 and Alec Burleson picked up the save to close out the game in the ninth inning.

ECU(42-12/20-3) set league records for the most league wins in the process and consecutive series wins (eight) in a season. Kuchmaner talked about winning for the seniors.

“You want to win for them for what they’ve done for us so you play a little bit extra for sure,” Kuchmaner said afterward, “We knew they were going to be ready because they put up ten runs last night, so it wasn’t like we could take the night off.”

Cliff Godwin talked about the importance of senior night and the six seniors on what is a memorable, record setting Pirate ball club.

“It means a lot for our baseball program, the six guys Turner Brown, Brady Lloyd, Zach Barnes, Chandler Jenkins, Sam Lanier, Evan Voliva mean so much to our program,” said Godwin, “Anytime someone has poured their heart and soul into the program, not just on the field but academically, the group had a 3.4 team GPA in the spring. They have over a thousand service hours”

“Playing at the level they’ve played at this entire year,” Godwin said, “We’re so proud of them. My hat’s off to them. I salute them.”

The Pirates grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning on a Spencer Brickhouse base hit to centerfield that allowed Bryant Packard to score. Alec Burleson’s RBI grounder to second base then scored another run.

Payton Marshall’s RBI grounder in the second frame gave Memphis their first run of the game to cut the ECU lead to 2-1.

In the top of the fourth, Memphis tied the contest at 2-2 when Hunter Goodman jacked a solo homer off of Jake Kuchmaner over the left field wall.

ECU reclaimed the lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Turner Brown scored on a Brady Lloyd base hit up the middle. Then Ryder Giles knocked in another run on a ground out to second that made it 4-2 Pirates and prompting a pitching change.

Alex Hicks fell to 4-3 on the year with the loss, giving up six hits and was charged with two of the four runs that occurred while he was in the game. Hicks lasted just three and two-thirds innings when Alex Smith came on in relief for the Tigers with two away in the fourth inning.

Memphis did their best to make a game of it when Colton Neel doubled to center to score a run in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom of the frame Thomas Francisco’s RBI base hit to center brought Turner Brown across home plate to give ECU a two run cushion heading into the ninth inning.

The Pirates had a chance to score two more runs but both were snuffed out on tags at home plate. That gave the Tigers a chance in the top of the ninth to try to make a comeback, but senior Evan Voliva shut the door for the Pirates who held on for the two-run win.

“It was senior night and a special night but I tried to treat it like any other ballgame and execute what the coach told me to do,” said Voliva.

Godwin has set a high standard and he wasn’t altogether pleased with the way his team performed Friday night.

“To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like we came out a little flat tonight after the first inning and I’m sure some guys are tired but we need to come out with a lot of juice and energy tomorrow because every game matters,” said Godwin, “I want to see guys flying around the field.”

Godwin knows that getting the sweep on Saturday would put ECU in a position of momentum heading into next week’s AAC Tournament.

“Every win is important. I just want us to go out and play our best baseball. At the end of the day I don’t care who we play, i want to go out and play our best baseball. I did not think we played our best baseball tonight. We never got the crowd into it and I didn’t feel like our guys did that tonight.”

The victory gave ECU the series win heading into Saturday’s regular season home finale. Game time is at 1 o’clock.