As a resident of the TRUNA neighborhood I am grateful for all the wonderful work of Councilman Bell for the last two...

ECU sweeps away Knights

1 of 2

East Carolina's Lane Hoover, top right, celebrates with teammates during Saturday's win against UCF at Clark-LeClair Stadium.


The Daily Reflector

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Turner Brown waved his arms to the crowd and pumped his fist as he rounded the bases for a go-ahead solo home run Sunday at Clark-LeClair Stadium, perhaps knowing that there are a lot of games remaining in the college baseball season but also that sweeps can be huge in the American Athletic Conference.

No. 14 ECU completed a sweep of UCF on Sunday, winning 6-5 to finish the first weekend of AAC games.

Brown’s high homer to right field began the bottom of the seventh inning for a 5-4 edge. From there, Sam Lanier, Evan Voliva and Alec Burleson — accounting for the final half of the six pitchers used by the Pirates — protected the lead to give ECU (18-6, 3-0) a second sweep in as many weekends.

Spencer Brickhouse’s solo homer in the eighth made it 6-4.

The first two swings of the game were home runs to left field by UCF (15-9, 0-3) off Jake Kuchmaner, who crafted a perfect game last Sunday at Maryland, and the Pirates trailed 4-3 after the top of the fifth.

UCF scored in the first inning of all three games, but the Knights left Greenville without a victory.

“Going 2-1 versus 3-0 is a big swing,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said of the sweep. “Our first two years here as a coaching staff, we sat in hotels and restaurants and swept the last weekend and with other losses we would have tied for the conference championship. We want to win the conference championship and there is a lot to be done between now and then, but it is a lot better being 3-0 than 2-1.”

The Pirates trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth when Seth Caddell lined a single into left field with two outs to score Brown, creating the third and final tie of the day.

Brown’s clutch home run came on a 1-0 pitch from reliever Garrett Westberg (2-2).

“That is probably the first one I’ve ever hit that I knew was gone right away,” Brown said. “That was a cool feeling. Our fans were awesome all weekend and they came out and supported us and were a big reason why we swept them this weekend.”

Brickhouse’s homer was his fifth of the season. He totaled six hits and eight RBIs in the sweep.

UCF made it 6-5 in the ninth and bunted with No. 3 hitter Matthew Mika to try to score speedy Ray Alejo from third base, but Burleson scooped the ball and retired Alejo at home plate. A popup to Brown then ended the game.

“We work on that at practice all the time and if you can get the out at home, then get the out at home,” Burleson said of the quick defensive decision-making. “It was bunted right back to me and (Caddell) was right there to tag him out.”

Like the Pirates, UCF used five relievers.

Pirate star outfielder Bryant Packard (1-for-2, run) was replaced during the fifth inning.

“He tweaked something and had to come out of the game, so we had to go with somebody else,” Godwin said.

Voliva (3-1) got the win with one scoreless inning. Burleson went the final 1.1 frames for his second save.

Kuchmaner faced four batters in the top of the fourth, striking out three and walking one. He needed only six pitches to retire the side in order in the fourth.

He left the game during the top of the fifth with ECU leading 3-2 and ended up being charged with three runs on two hits in 4.1 innings. The left-hander struck out three Knights and walked four.

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


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 20, 2019

Quarterback Holton Ahlers led East Carolina’s football team in rushing last season with 592 yards and six touchdowns on 119 carries.

New offensive principles are in place at ECU under a new coaching staff, leading to some intrigue about Ahlers and his run availability. Would this staff, led…


August 19, 2019

East Carolina first-year football coach Mike Houston described the Pirates' No. 1 center, Branden Pena, as a "tough joker" on Saturday.

The football-centric praise showed how far the relationship has come between Pena and Houston since December.

"Branden Pena is a guy that I didn't know his name…


August 17, 2019

Moments of reflection Saturday brought East Carolina first-year head football coach Mike Houston back to the spring.

The physicality he saw Saturday during the Pirates' final preseason scrimmage was vastly different from the spring Purple-Gold Game.

Darius Pinnix displayed his punishing rushing…


August 17, 2019

East Carolina’s football players were asked about their favorite ice cream flavor Saturday and they got the opportunity to pick on teammates, but there also were serious questions pointed their way about the Aug. 31 opener at N.C. State and the rest of an important season for the Pirates…


August 17, 2019

In an exhibition match defined by defense, Jenna Dages scored the only goal for the East Carolina women’s soccer team to top VCU 1-0 on Friday night inside Johnson Stadium.

Dages’ goal came at the 45:34 mark. From there, goalie Meaghan Haley and ECU's defense helped to maintain the lead.…


August 17, 2019

Here are five East Carolina football players who have stepped up during preseason camp and will be looking to continue their momentum when the Pirates complete camp with a scrimmage Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:

1. Xavier Smith, linebacker: Smith has kind of quietly morphed from a tight end…


August 16, 2019

East Carolina’s football practice Friday morning ended with center Branden Pena snapping to quarterback Holton Ahlers in the victory formation, and then the Pirates celebrated. Kicker Jake Verity also made a 57-yard field goal during a late-game sequence.

On the day before an important…


August 16, 2019

Jayda Hylton-Pelaia has played countless soccer matches in Canada and the United States, impressing plenty of observers with her fluid dribbling and defensive skills.

Her effect on American Athletic Conference coaches was felt Tuesday when she was named AAC preseason defensive player of the year,…

Jayda 6.jpg

August 15, 2019

Bruce Bivens is as vocal as ever on the East Carolina football defense, which can both excite and worry first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston.

Bivens' voice is important and it carries now in the middle of ECU's defense as he approaches his junior season and his second year as a starting inside…


August 15, 2019

UCLA transfer receiver Audie Omotosho was in shoulders pads Thursday as he continues to work toward being in full fear and available to compete in Saturday's scrimmage.

Omotosho officially joined the Pirates on Wednesday after not catching a pass for the Bruins from 2016-18. Houston gave insight on…

174 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»