ECU Sweeps UConn Series With a Pair of Saturday Victories
Spencer Brickhouse knocked a pair of home runs to go along with homers from Alec Burleson and Chandler Jenkins and ECU picked up their fourth straight win and a three-game conference sweep of UConn with a 9-7 Saturday afternoon victory. It was the Pirates’ second win of the day to cap off an Easter weekend of solid baseball.
Tyler Smith remained undefeated at 5-0 with the victory on the mound for ECU while Jeff Kersten evened his record at 3-3 with the loss fo UConn.
“It was a good day. It started out as a rough week in places, I hadn’t been swinging the bat that well, so it was good to come off and get those two home runs, get things rolling and get those runs on the board,” Brickhouse said afterward, “That’s baseball. That’s life honestly. You’re going to have good times and bad times in baseball and you just ride out the good times and the bad times and just keep on playing the game and keep on going up there and swinging the bat.”
“Baseball is a game of confidence and a series like this gives us a lot of confidence moving forward, but we’ve still got to take it one day at a time,” said Brickhouse, “We’ve seen plenty of times when a good game can carry over and we can get too comfortable, and that’s something we emphasize not doing - getting comfortable, we treat every day with a lot of intent and going in there and doing the best we can.”
ECU head coach Cliff Godwin seemed cautiously optimistic overall after the way things worked out this weekend and hopes to carry it forward into the rest of the season.
“Our goal was never to be 11-1. It was just to keep playing good baseball,” Godwin stated afterward, “I didn’t think we played a great brand of baseball early in game one and that’s why I took Kooch out of the game. Because he knows - and he’s a great teammate, we talked about it in the dugout and he said, Coach you took me out because I threw a bunt away and I hit a guy who was trying to bunt.”
“We just needed to change the momentum,” said Godwin.
“But guys played tough. They competed and they grinded it out,” Godwin said, “Anytime you can sweep a great UConn team at home you’ve done something.”
“I thought Sam and Volva were tremendous in the first game. That was the only way we could win the game, Trey Benton too. He comes in with a bases loaded jam and hits the first guy and then only gives up another run,” said Godwin, So anytime you can come into a bases loaded jam with no outs and give up two or less, you’ve done your job. He did a tremendous job.”
UConn got on the scoreboard first on an Anthony Prato fielder’s choice that resulted in the first run of game two on Saturday. That was followed by a Woodworth base hit to centerfield that brought Prato in for a run to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third Spencer Brickhouse’s homer to right gave ECU a jump start and a 3-2 lead. The Pirates added three more runs on a Jake Washer homer in the fourth followed by Brickhouse’s second four bagger of the day that scored two more runs as the Pirates opened up a commanding 6-2 cushion.
Pat Winkel’s double in the sixth inning to centerfield helped UConn pull back to within two runs at 6-4.
In the eighth, Brady Lloyd reached on a fielder’s choice bunt that led to a throwing error that scored a run. Bryant Packard’s SAC fly scored another before Chandler Jenkins’ bomb to right field got up into a heavy wind for a home run to improve the ECU lead to 9-4.
UConn(24-17/7-9 AAC) made a run in the ninth inning, scoring three runs on a pair of home runs by Kyler Fedco an Mike Woodworth that trimmed the lead to two but in the end it wasn’t enough as the Pirates moved to 11-1 in league play with the victory.
With the victory, ECU improved their record to 29-10 and 11-1 in American Conference play.
ECU picked up a 5-2 Saturday morning win in game one of the double-header with UConn.
Trey Benton came on in relief to pick up his fourth win of the season and remain undefeated on the season. Evan Voliva grabbed his third save of the year for the Pirates in the process as ECU moved to 28-10 and 10-1 in league play.
Jimmy Wang fell to 1-2 with the loss for Connecticut.
A walk, a throwing error and a hit batter in the third inning led to ECU lifting starting pitcher Jake Kuchmaner in the third inning with the bases loaded. Michael Woodworth was then hit by a Trey Benton pitch to bring in the first run of the game for UConn.
Pat Winkle’s RBI pop fly scored the second run of the game for a 2-0 lead.
With the bases loaded in the third, UConn walked Turner Brown and Lane Hoover for a pair of ECU runs of the game. UConn brought in a pair of pitchers in the inning before Jake Washer’s deep pop fly allowed Spencer Brickhouse to score to give ECU their first lead of the game at 3-2.
RBI singles by Nick Barber and Bryant Packard in the sixth inning gave the Pirates a three run 5-2 lead. Karl Johnson lifted on the mound for UConn after the first run in favor of Caleb Wurster.