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Pirates power to opening sweep

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East Carolina's Spencer Brickhouse celebrates after hitting a home run during a game against Radford on Feb. 15, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, February 15, 2019

A total of 21 runs by East Carolina powered the Pirates to a college baseball opening day sweep of Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.

Spencer Brickhouse’s go-ahead, two-run home run keyed a 6-2 win, then ECU used a 16-hit barrage for a 15-9 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader featuring 3,991 fans.

The No. 11 Pirates led the second game 13-3 after a 10-run bottom of the second inning. The big inning consisted of four Pirate doubles, four singles and Bryant Packard’s two-run homer to right field to create the 13-3 cushion.

It was 14-4 after the third.

“It was really good because we gave up two run in the first, but to come back and put up a 10-spot, that can kind of take the wind out of their sails,” ECU coach Cliff Godwin said.

The bottom of the second served as the first 10-run inning by the Pirates since March 26, 2010.

“That was special, and we really strung our at-bats together,” said Bryson Worrell, whose two-run double during the frame plated Packard and Nick Barber.

Game 3 of the series is scheduled for Sunday at noon.

Veteran left-hander Jake Agnos made his return to the weekend rotation and allowed four runs — three earned — in four innings. He had four strikeouts but also gave up two home runs, walked two batters and plunked one.

Both of the Highlanders’ starting pitchers were left-handed. Game 2 starter Hunter Williams was roughed up for seven runs on six hits in one-plus inning, with Worrell doing plenty of damage thanks to a homer in the first frame and two-run double in the second.

Worrell, ECU’s new starting center fielder, batted second in the batting order in both games, finishing the day 4-for-8 with four runs scored and four RBIs. Leadoff man Packard was hitless in Game 1 and then went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, three RBIs and a double.

“They have to pitch to one of us, and I feel like I’ll get better pitches because of what they did last year,” Worrell said of hitting between Packard and Brickhouse.

Seth Caddell had the Pirates’ fourth and final homer of the day when he yanked a solo blast in the bottom of the sixth.

ECU 6, Radford 2

Brickhouse’s big day included hitting a home run in East Carolina season opener for the third straight year.

This sixth-inning blast gave ECU the lead for good. He finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Trey Benton, a junior and mainly a weekend starting pitcher in past seasons, was the Pirates’ first reliever when it was 2-2 to start the top of the sixth inning. He left in favor of Cam Colmore with one out in the top of the eighth and the Pirates up 6-2.

Brickhouse’s game-winning homer was set up by Worrell’s two-out single. Worrell scored two runs in the game.

ECU starting pitcher Alec Burleson also served as the designated hitter, finishing 4-for-5 at the plate.

He helped himself when he dropped an RBI single into right field in the first, but in the top of the fourth the Highlanders hit a pair of home runs off him for a 2-1 edge. The Pirates tied the game in the bottom-half on a sacrifice RBI bunt by Brady Lloyd.

Burleson yielded two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and a walk in five innings. Benton tossed 2.1 scoreless innings for the pitching victory.

“I felt good and didn’t really feel like I had my best stuff, but I battled with what I had,” Burleson said. 

The Pirates out-hit Radford, 13-4.

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

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