Tyler Smith and ECU Shuts Out Wichita State 5-0 to Take Series
(16)ECU moved to 20-6 after strolling to a 5-0 shutout victory over (18)Wichita State to take the AAC series on Saturday afternoon in Clark-LeClair Stadium. The Pirates move to 4-2 in league play with the win.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Smith(4-0) put together a masterful outing on the mound for ECU. Smith went a career high seven and third innings giving up just five hits to go along with five strikeouts in 94 pitches to remain undefeated for the season.
Ryan Ross and Gavin Williams saw relief action for the Pirates before Davis Kirkpatrick came on in the bottom of the ninth to close the deal.
“I thought it was a really good outing. I knew going in that I just had to attack hitters with my one-seam and off speed and just know that my defense was going to have my back in any situation,” Smith said.
“Coming in especially after Holba’s great start yesterday he talked to me a lot about locating for the lefties down and away, so I just used that to my advantage with the sinker and just let it run down. For the righties he said get in on those guys so just learning from what they said the past two nights and just going out and attacking with everything I had.”
After Thursday night’s lopsided 14-2 loss, to pick up a pair of wins over nationally ranked Wichita State has to make dinner taste better heading into the Easter break for ECU head coach Cliff Godwin who talked about Smith’s performance on the mound.
“Just phenomenal to go out there and shut down their offense like that. A ton of big pitches and a ton of ground balls. I’m so proud of him. He deserves it. He’s worked his butt off and I’m just so happy for him,” said Godwin.
“Our guys can take some hits and keep moving and that’s what we try to prepare them for. It’s like life, it’s not easy. You’re going to get hit in the face every once in a while with some obstacles and you’ve got to keep moving forward.”
The series serves as a barometer of things to come for a Pirate team that continues to get better the bigger the challenge they face.
“I’m so proud of them because they just respond. They don’t get down on themselves. They just know that they’ve got to play a little bit better. I’m just so proud of the pitching staff and the way they have performed the last two days. Great team effort," Godwin said.
"A lot of hard at-bats. We hit the ball hard a lot today, but it was just at people. We did enough to win.”
Tommy Barnhouse absorbed the loss for Wichita State to fall to 2-2. Barnhouse gave up three runs on two hits with three strikeouts in just over four innings of play for the Shockers who used five pitchers all told.
ECU got five runs on just four hits. Nobody in the lineup had more than one hit for the Pirates. Jordan Boyer and Gunnar Troutwine collected a pair of hits for Wichita State(19-6/1-2 AAC) but it didn’t end up amounting to very much on Saturday.
Things were relatively quiet until the bottom of the fourth when Connor Litton’s ground out allowed Spencer Brickhouse to score to give ECU a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates struck again in the bottom of the fifth when Bryant Packard’s RBI base hit to left brought Connor Jenkins across home plate. Nick Barber scored on a passed ball and the ECU lead grew to three. Then with the bases loaded, a Jake Washer ground out to second produced another Pirate run in a 4-0 contest.
Things only got worse for the Shockers when Connor Litton burned righthander Chandler Sanburn with a left field homer in a 5-0 contest in the eighth inning.
After a short break for Easter the Pirates tee it up again on Tuesday night when they host UNC-Wilmington at 6’oclock in Clark-LeClair Stadium.