Jake Kuchmaner Solid in ECU's 7-4 Win Over Charlotte
(14)ECU’s winning ways continued on Friday in a 7-4 victory over Charlotte in game one of a weekend set in Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Jake Kuchmaner(2-0) went five and a third innings and 93 pitches, yielding five hits and a pair of runs with ten strikeouts to grab the win for ECU. Gavin Williams went four innings in relief to pick up the save with ten strikeouts against a pair of earned runs for the Pirates. Between the two, ECU didn't yield a walk the entire game.
Cliff Godwin had a good feeling about Kuchmaner heading into Friday's out of conference encounter and it proved to be prophetic. The Pirate skipper was prepared to let him go a hundred pitches, but saw an opportunity to take him off to a standing ovation so he was lifted in the sixth.
“He’s a winner. He’s won his entire life and I just felt good about it,” ECU head coach Cliff Godwin said about Kuchmaner, “He was really good and gave us a really good opportunity to win. Then Gaven came in behind him and did a tremendous job. Coach (Jason) Dietrich and Coach (Austin) Knight have been harping on the pitchers about limiting the freebies and to punch out 15 guys and not walk anybody is pretty special.”
Ben Newton, Bryson Worrell and Ryder Giles at the bottom of the ECU batting order were all particularly potent at the plate producing eight hits collectively and five RBI in ECU’s eleventh win of the year.
“Bryson’s at bats have been a lot better in the last ten days and I knew it was coming. You don’t know when it’s going to come, but it came tonight,” said Godwin, “Of course, Ben and Ryder had a great night so it really lengthens the lineup when those guys are swinging the bat that good. They did a great job. I just told our team that everybody is not going to be hot all of the time, so guys have to pick each other up and Bryson, Ben and Ryder picked those guys up tonight.”
Ben Newton got the festivities underway for the Pirates in the bottom of the second inning with a double down the left field line that scored the first run of the game. Ryder Giles then got into the act with a base hit to left that brought Newton across home plate to give ECU(11-2) an early 2-0 lead.
David McGabe’s two-run shot into the left field jungle in the top of the fourth tied the contest at 2-2 for Charlotte. Then Newton and Giles were at it again in the bottom of the inning with a pair of RBI singles that quickly gave ECU a 4-2 lead.
Charlotte starting pitcher Andrew Lindsey(2-1) was then lifted after giving up nine hits and five runs in his 64 pitches. Jackson Boss, Spencer Giesting and Nick Turnbull came on in relief in succession, but the results didn’t change a whole lot.
Seth Caddell’s grounder to short in the bottom of the fifth brought Zach Agnos across home plate for ECU’s fifth run of the game. That was followed by Josh Moylan’s base hit to left center that scored Thomas Francisco to put the Pirates up by four runs. It could have been even worse for Charlotte, but Nick Turnbull was then able to strike Ryder Giles out with the bases loaded for the third out.
Charlotte(8-4) got on the scoreboard again in the sixth and seventh innings when McGabe launched his second home run of the game, this time to right field, to cut the lead to 6-3 in the sixth before Austin Knight doubled to right to score another run in the seventh inning.
Ben Newton’s third RBI hit of the game extended the Pirate lead to 7-4 in East Carolina half of the seventh frame.
“He’s seeing the ball really good and he’s starting to believe that he’s a good hitter and he has really solidified himself to be in the lineup every day,” Godwin told PirateIllustrated.com, “It doesn’t matter if it’s lefties or righties. They brought in the lefty to face him and he smacks a single to left field. He’s got a really short and simple swing.”
“Him and I have worked a lot over the past two years and he would tell you as Bryant Packard told me that that’s the best hitting job that I’ve ever done. All the credit goes to Ben Newton for buying into coaching and now his hard work is coming into fruition.”
The two teams matchup again on Saturday for game two of the weekend series with the first pitch scheduled for 4 o’clock.