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Pirates blanked by VCU

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East Carolina's Jake Washer dives back to first base as VCU's Steven Carpenter looks for the ball on Tuesday at Clark-LeClair Stadium. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The East Carolina baseball offense that continues to have fluidity out of necessity was stifled Tuesday by VCU.

Visiting VCU handed No. 18 ECU its first shutout of the season and stopped the Pirates’ five-game win streak with a 3-0 win by the Rams at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

ECU (12-4) was without injured starters Bryant Packard, Turner Brown and Dwanya Williams-Sutton in the same game for the first time this year, and the Pirates were limited to three hits. The Pirates got two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning behind Brady Lloyd’s double, but Benjamin Dum retired the next two Pirates to complete his four-inning outing and the save.

“You have to score to win a baseball game, just like any other sport, and they were just better than us today,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said. “I thought our guys were ready to play, but we didn’t execute as well as we should have offensively. Other than that, they were just better than us.”

Lloyd went 2-for-4 with two of the Pirates’ three hits. VCU (9-8) totaled seven hits, including Paul Witt’s two-run single with two outs in the fifth for a 2-0 lead.

Connor Litton, a usual middle-of-the-order batter who was in the leadoff spot because of injuries, had a single with two outs in the bottom of the third to complement Lloyd’s day at the plate.

“Bryant Packard took some swings today off a tee and he’s getting closer,” Godwin said of the lineup. “I don’t know when he’ll be (back), and Turner Brown, it won’t be that long for him. Dwanya probably a little longer time, but if we get a couple of those guys back then we’ll be fine.”

Pirate starter Jake Agnos went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits with four strikeouts, two walks and two hit batsmen. The first two runs were unearned because of a Litton throwing error.

Left-hander Ryan Ross pitched the final 3 2/3 scoreless frames in a career-long outing. He struck out three batters.

Connor Gillispie, who was the Rams’ opening day starter, pitched the first three frames and gave up one hit with two strikeouts and a walk. Middle reliever Michael Dailey went two innings without a hit allowed.

“We would have a good at-bat and then maybe a weak pop fly or a strikeout, so as a team we just have to get better with that,” Litton said. “We’ll figure it out and have it ready for tomorrow (against Elon).”

Davis Kirkpatrick was ECU’s first reliever and didn’t get an out. He went 4 2/3 scoreless innings — spanning four appearances — to begin his senior season and since then has recorded one out in three combined outings.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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