Turner Brown’s walk-off game winning hit up the middle in the bottom of the eleventh inning lifted East Carolina to a 3-2 victory over Memphis Sunday afternoon in Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Memphis held a 1-0 lead until the fifth inning of the Sunday AAC series rubber match.
“We played really good defense Friday and today and I thought we executed on offense. Their guy was really good. He kept the ball down and kept us off balance, but we were able to execute," ECU head coach Cliff Godwin said, "Brickhouse gets a single then we were able to execute and get back to back sac flies. We always talk about getting runners in from third base with less than two outs and Turner Brown and Drew Henrickson did that.”
Starting pitcher Jake Agnos went five innings for ECU giving up one run on four hits in 82 pitches. Matt Bridges came on late to pitch a season high 52 pitches before being lifted in the ninth inning for West Covington.
Agnos and Bridges bought the ECU(27-25/6-12 AAC) bull pen a lot of time on Sunday even though Bridges was charged with a pair of runs before being lifted for Covington who officially got the win to move to 2-1.
Blake Bennett took the loss for Memphis to drop to 2-1 for the year.
“Matt Bridges was outstanding. We tried to extend him and he was out of gas, but we just tried to steal another inning. Then West Covington coming in and getting that double-play ball,” said Godwin, “Just two great kids who work their butts off and they deserve success. It doesn’t always happen that way, but I couldn’t be more proud of Matt Bridges and West Covington.”
Bridges was effective with both the breaking ball and the fast ball and he talked about his performance after the game.
“I was just trying to get command of both pitches and keep them guessing and keep them off their feet. I couldn’t do it without my defense. They played great, especially trusting Travis behind the plate with every pitch I throw,” Bridges said, “It was a great experience today and I’m glad Turner Brown could walk it off for us.”
Jonathan Bowlan went seven and two-thirds innings for Memphis(27-25/7-13 AAC), giving up two runs on six hits with five strikeouts in 86 pitches before yielding to Blake Bennett in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Brandon Grudzielanek’s single to centerfield brought home the initial run of the game to give Memphis a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
East Carolina struck back in the bottom of the fifth when Turner Brown’s pop fly to centerfield allowed Spencer Brickhouse to score. Then Henrickson flied out with one out to bring Travis Watkins home to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
A pair of Matt Bridges walks and sacrifice bunt from Zach Schritenthal led to men on second and third for Tyler Webb. Webb’s seeing eye single up the middle scored a Memphis run to tie the contest at 2-2. Then a double-play with the bases loaded ended the Tiger threat in the top of the ninth frame.
The Pirates left a pair of base runners stranded in the bottom of the ninth inning forcing the game into extra innings.