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Pirates fend off Seahawks in late innings

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East Carolina catcher Seth Caddell, left, tags out UNC Wilmington's Doug Angeli at home plate during a game on April 23, 2019. (Molly Urbina/The Daily Reflector)

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Facing the final five-game week of its regular season, East Carolina’s baseball team had to battle to knock off rival UNC Wilmington on Tuesday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

ECU’s 8-5 victory required much more late-inning drama than in the Pirates’ routine 9-1 win over the Seahawks in Wilmington on April 9.

The rematch, which lasted four hours and nine minutes, featured four ties after the fifth inning. No. 11 ECU (30-10) trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the eighth before plating four runs on three hits in the frame to take the lead for good.

Bryant Packard’s third double of the night tied the game at 5-5 in the Pirate eighth. There were two outs when a fielding error by UNCW (20-22) plated two runs for the decisive play of the game.

“I think we stuck to our plan, and it paid off in the end,” said Packard, who finished 3-for-4 and scored three runs from his leadoff spot in the batting order.

UNCW had its losing streak extended to six games.

ECU will be back in action tonight at Old Dominion.

The Pirates scored in the first inning and led 1-0 until UNCW created ties of 1-1 in the sixth, 3-3 in the seventh and 4-4 in the eighth. Jackson Meadows’ RBI double in the top of eighth gave UNCW a brief 5-4 edge for the visitors’ only lead.

Meadows then made the crucial error in the bottom of the eighth on a bobbled ground ball hit to him at second base by Turner Brown with the bases loaded, two outs and the score tied 5-5. With ECU up 7-5, Alec Burleson’s run-scoring single plated Spencer Brickhouse for the final run.

Burleson moved from first base to the pitcher’s mound, and weekend starting pitcher Jake Kuchmaner played first base with two outs in the ninth. A base hit brought the tying run to the plate before Burleson got a lineout to complete the win.

Pirate starter Trey Benton threw 65 pitches and was in command in his planned short outing, tossing 3.1 scoreless innings with six strikeouts, no walks and four hits allowed. He lowered his season ERA to 4.01 in the no decision. His ERA was at a season-high 6.94 mark on March 10.

“If Trey Benton hadn’t been as sharp as he was, then we would have been in trouble,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said. “But I was really impressed with our resiliency by our offense. … The game was won in the eighth, when they put up two runs and then we put up four.”

Left-handed senior Justin Walke, a former Pitt Community College standout, started for UNCW for only his second start of the year. He gave up one run on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk in 4.1 frames.

ECU had a 30-9 record on April 21 last year. The Pirates finished 44-18 after hosting the NCAA Greenville Regional.

Godwin presented UNCW coach Mark Scalf, who is retiring at the end of this season, a commemorative bat before the first pitch. Scalf offered Godwin his first college coaching job as a volunteer assistant in 2003.

Pirate catcher Seth Caddell finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and also was instrumental in UNCW ending its fourth and sixth frames with runners thrown out at home plate. Packard fired a ball in from left field to finish the top of the fourth, when Doug Angeli was initially ruled safe before a replay review overturned the call to a close out at the plate.

“I knew he was out because his hand literally was in my glove,” Caddell said.

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

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ECU

May 24, 2019

Wichita State upset top-seeded East Carolina during the first day of the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament, and it was the Shockers again on Friday who convincingly ended the Pirates’ stay in Clearwater, Fla., for the AAC tourney.

Wichita, the No. 8 seed that needed to win on…

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May 22, 2019

With its record-breaking pitching ace on the mound, East Carolina’s baseball team got back on track Wednesday at the American Athletic Conference tournament to set up an off day.

Top-seeded ECU cruised in an elimination game on Wednesday afternoon, defeating No. 5 seed Houston 13-2 to…

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May 21, 2019

The shocker on the first day of the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament was pulled off by the Shockers.

No. 8 seed Wichita State upset AAC regular season champion East Carolina, 6-2, on Tuesday afternoon in Clearwater, Fla., meaning the favored Pirates now need to win five games in…

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May 20, 2019

As expected, East Carolina baseball’s record-breaking season was officially recognized by the American Athletic Conference on Monday.

Jake Agnos earned the AAC pitcher of the year award, just four days after he set a new league single-season record for strikeouts with 124 in 83.0 innings this…

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May 20, 2019

East Carolina needs a new women’s golf coach, which is an unfamiliar position for the Pirates.

Kevin Williams, who started the ECU program in the fall of 2000, officially resigned Monday to join Kalen Anderson’s staff at South Carolina as an assistant coach.

During his two-tenure, 17-…

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May 20, 2019

East Carolina announced program-record grade point averages in football and men’s basketball for the spring semester, one week after those teams were close to the cut line for NCAA administered penalties because of their multi-year academic progress rate scores released by the NCAA from 2017…

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May 18, 2019

East Carolina lost its final regular season baseball game of this season, yet some fans stuck around at sunny and steamy Clark-LeClair Stadium after Memphis’ 10-9 victory on Saturday afternoon to see the Pirates collect their trophies and to show appreciation for what ECU accomplished…

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May 17, 2019

East Carolina spent the last few months proving its worth as the best baseball team in the American Athletic Conference.

On Friday night, seventh-ranked ECU succeeded in its chance to put another historical stamp on its campaign.

The Pirates defeated Memphis, 5-3, at Clark-LeClair Stadium, giving…

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May 16, 2019

In what will be celebrated this weekend as a historic regular season for East Carolina baseball, Jake Agnos was at the forefront and dominant Thursday at Clark-LeClair Stadium despite the game’s final score later ballooning to 19-10. 

ECU’s left-handed junior pitcher vaulted up ECU…

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May 16, 2019

East Carolina is set to send eight athletes to the track and field NCAA East preliminary meet, scheduled for May 23-25 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Senior Grace Sullivan, the school-record holder in the steeplechase, enters the regional with a No. 12 ranking. She ran her season-best time of 10 minutes, 12.…

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