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Fall game brings ECU, PCC together

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Pitt Community College's head baseball coach, Tommy Eason, watches over players during practice at the PCC Minges-Overton Baseball Complex on May 19, 2017.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, October 21, 2018

There are no shortage of connections between Pitt Community College and East Carolina baseball, and on Sunday the two college programs converged at ECU’s Clark-LeClair Stadium for a rare treat for local college baseball fans.

They played a fall exhibition game and East Carolina won 9-0, but the afternoon was about much more than the final score.

It was especially neat for longtime PCC coach Tommy Eason, who played at ECU and was an assistant coach for the Pirates before taking over the Bulldogs in a tenure that has included two trips to the junior college World Series.

“I was here for one year when we opened this stadium, so this is actually the first time I’ve been back on the field since I left 14 years ago,” said Eason, who reached the Double-A level of professional baseball in 1994 and ‘95 and was inducted into the East Carolina Hall of Fame in 2016, as he stood outside the visiting dugout. “It felt good to be back out here. Me and (ECU coach) Cliff Godwin have a good relationship. This was good for the community.”

Godwin also played for the Pirates, from 1998-2001.

“Tommy and I go way back and we’re both from Snow Hill,” he said. “Tommy played at East Carolina, but he also coached me when I played here. He’s a great guy and his teams always play hard and they are really good.”

ECU was an NCAA regional host a season ago and should be a preseason Top 25 club this year. It took control of the exhibition with a three-run third inning, two more runs in the fourth and a four-run rally in the sixth.

Veteran catcher Jake Washer went 3-for-5 with a home run. He also helped the Pirates’ pitching staff shut out the Bulldogs, who committed four errors and the hosts had one.

Freshman right-hander Carter Spivey, who has had a strong fall on the mound, led the way with three scoreless innings to begin the game.

Spivey worked out of trouble in each of his frames, including in the first when he got help from an inning-ending diving stop by second baseman Brady Lloyd. J.H. Rose product Tyshawn Barrett ripped a single up in the middle in the top of the second, but was left stranded at second base, and Spivey used a pickoff and a strikeout to leave a runner at third base in the PCC third.

“That was a heck of a play,” Spivey said of Lloyd’s diving stab on a ground ball behind second base and flip to shortstop Nick Barber for a force-out at second. “I was screaming. That was a big play for sure, but the defense the whole game was making plays left and right.”

Cole Beavin followed Spivey with three scoreless innings of his own. He struck out three batters with no walks.

The Pirate third inning featured Bryant Packard roping an RBI double to right field, scoring Nick Barber after he walked and stole second base. Washer also hit a two-out RBI single.

This was ECU’s second fall exhibition game. It beat Virginia, 5-2, on Oct. 6.

“This is the first time the NCAA has allowed you to play fall games and it not count toward your spring schedule,” Godwin said. “It’s good to see a different group in a different uniform.”

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

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