Pirates rally to claim Shockers finale
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, May 12, 2019
There was not much shock value to Wichita State’s early lead on Sunday against the East Carolina baseball team, which didn’t face the possibility of its potential first American Athletic Conference series loss for too long in an eventual 7-3 clincher by the visiting Pirates.
ECU (39-12, 18-3 AAC) trailed 1-0 after the first inning, but a four-run third and a three-run seventh combined with a steady five innings from starter Tyler Smith (7-0) to spell the Pirates’ seventh league series victory in as many tries. Wichita rebounded from Friday’s loss to claim the second game on Saturday.
Alec Burleson looped an RBI double to help key the decisive third frame, while Lane Hoover added a double and two runs scored as part of a 2-for-3 day. Turner Brown drove in a pair despite going 0-for-5 and Dusty Baker singled home a run for ECU, which oddly scored its seven runs on just five hits, while the Shockers managed just their three scores despite 13 hits.
WSU also committed three errors.
Usual ECU power sources Bryant Packard and Spencer Brickhouse were a combined 0-for-7 in the game, but ECU made the most of its chances.
After Jordan Boyer stole home in the bottom of the first to give WSU the lead, ECU rallied in the third off starter and losing pitcher Connery Peters.
Hoover and Burleson traded doubles to tie the score, 1-1. Brown and Jake Washer - who also tripled in the game - drove in two more runs on groundouts before Baker’s single capped the inning and gave the Pirates the lead for good, 4-1.
In the seventh, Hoover helped to manufacture an insurance run when he beat out an infield single, advanced on Brickhouse’s second walk of the day and stole third before coming home to score on Brown’s sacrifice bunt. The final tallies came on an outfield error that doomed the Shockers.
Burleson, Zach Barnes, Evan Voliva and Cam Colmore all made relief appearances to help keep Smith’s unblemished season record intact. Smith, meanwhile, showcased his game management skills, yielding two runs off eight hits while walking two and striking out four.
East Carolina is back home to finish the final week of the regular season. The Pirates play host to Campbell on Tuesday night for their final non-league tilt and then welcome Memphis to town for a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series to close out AAC play.
The regular season champion Pirates will also be favored to win the league tournament, which swings into action next Tuesday, May 21 in Clearwater, Fla.