Smallwood's Twelfth Inning Hit Lifts ECU to a 4-3 Win Over Marist
Christian Smallwood’s double to left field in the bottom of the twelfth inning lifted ECU to a hard earned 4-3 victory over Marist in game two of a three game weekend series Saturday night in Greenville.
With one out in the twelfth frame, Turner Brown picked up his third hit of the contest on an infield single. Lane Hoover followed with his second hit of the game before Smallwood came off the bench and launched a 1-2 pitch from Alex Panisini off the left field wall and Brown scored the game-winning run.
Sam Lanier(1-0) collected the win for ECU to improve to 11-5 while Alex Pansini fell to 1-2 with the loss for 4-7 Marist.
“I came up and I obviously was trying to win the game,” said Smallwood, “I got two strikes on me, so I was just trying to put the ball in play. I got something up that I could drive and it ended up working out. It was nice. I’ve been looking for one of those so there it is.”
Smallwood described the pitch.
“It was a fastball up and in. I was able to get my barrel to it. I got jammed a little bit, but the wind was blowing out a little bit so it helped me out.”
Robbie Armitage doubled in the first inning and Marist got on the scoreboard first when Tyler Kapuscinski’s two-out base hit to left scored the first run to give the Red Foxes an early 1-0 lead.
A Seth Caddell two-out fourth inning bloop single to centerfield allowed Spencer Brickhouse to score from third in the tie the contest at 1-1.
Back to back Marist base hits in the top of the Red Fox fifth then led to a Randy Taveras grounder that produced another run. Tyler Kapucsinski's base hit to left field made it 3-1, ending ECU starting pitcher Tyler Smith’s day after yielding eight hits on seventy pitches. Evan Voliva then came on in relief for the Pirates to end the inning.
Turner Brown homered over the left field wall in the bottom of the sixth to trim the Marist lead to just one run. Then Thomas Francisco’s RBI grounder allowed Lane Hoover to score in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 3-3.
“It’s awesome and it shows a lot of toughness for our team. A lot of guys came off the bench and we talk about it all the time to be ready when your name is called,” said Brown, “So it’s great to get a win like that.”
The game went three extra innings before Smallwood’s double ended the contest in the bottom of the twelfth frame.
ECU head coach Cliff Godwin's post game comments after the 4-3 game two win over Marist.
“I’m super proud. I thought our pitching was phenomenal. Tyler Smith did what he was supposed to do. Evan Voliva came in, he played two and a third and did what he was supposed to do. Burley came in and did what he was supposed to do then Sam.”
“We had to pitch great tonight just to stay in the game. The offensively it was tough treading against the lefty.”
“I thought we put some very good swings on some balls like Burley hit that ball to the left field with the bases loaded. Very easily could have been a grand slam if the wind had just shifted a little.”
“He also smoked a ball right at the second baseman for a double play. So we had a lot of quality at bats early and that’s baseball. You’ve got to fight right through it and I thought our guys showed a lot of toughness today to get through that.”
“When you’re in extra innings, every pitch is the difference between winning and losing. It gives you experience for down the road. That’s college baseball. It’s tough to win college baseball games. Everybody thinks East Carolina is supposed to beat Marist. Well Marist is very good program. That guy who was pitching for Marist could be pitching for us for sure. Both of those guys so they’ve got a really good squad.”
“Good things happen to people who do things the right way all the time. I told the team during the game that nobody deserved to have success in that situation more than Christian Smallwood. Just like Kuchmaner. Guys who show up and do everything they’re supposed to do. Kuch didn’t pitch in the first seven games and he pitches against Air Force, pitches a great two innings against Western Carolina and then eight and two-thirds of no-hit baseball against Ole Miss, so I don’t have the crystal ball to say when it’s going to happen but if you show up and do what you’re supposed to do all the time, then good things will happen to you.”
“I just allows the media to say our bullpen is pretty good so that’s the thing I like the most. I remember telling Smallwood this why you came to East Carolina to be in a moment like this. I don’t have any idea what I said to Turner. I’ll ask him. I’m glad it worked out.”
“Trey Benton will start tomorrow.”
Catch PI Postgame audio from Saturday night's win over Marist below: