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Pirates put away Campbell in 9th

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East Carolina's Bryson Worrell (35) is lifted up by players to celebrate his solo home run during the third inning against Campbell on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Campbell is rarely an easy team to put away in baseball.

The Camels proved it again Tuesday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium, where No. 7 East Carolina’s only lead in the game was the final score of 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Seldom-used senior Chandler Jenkins sparked the No. 7 Pirates, hitting a game-tying, two-run home run during the sixth inning and leading off the bottom of the ninth with a line-drive single to center field for a 2-for-4 outing at the plate.

Brady Lloyd’s suicide squeeze bunt with the bases loaded and one out brought home pinch runner Christian Jayne with ease from third base for the win. The Pirates (40-12) reached 40 wins for the 15th time in school history and the third during coach Cliff Godwin’s five seasons.

Campbell (29-19) led ECU 1-0 in the second and 3-1 in the sixth. The Camels also beat ECU, 7-6, in Buies Creek on Feb. 20.

“I have to commend Bryson (Worrell) and Chandler, guys who are not getting a ton of at-bats, and they come into the game against probably the best Campbell team that we’ve faced since I’ve been the head coach here,” Godwin said. “It felt like a regional game, with every pitch there at the end. … It’s crucial because the more times they can be in those situations, the more confidence they are going to have to be able to execute stuff like that.”

The Pirates came into the night at No. 4 in the RPI rankings. Campbell, an NCAA tournament hopeful from the Big South Conference, was 64th.

Campbell used five infielders and brought in submarine pitcher Jack Yusko to face Lloyd. The first pitch was bunted up the first base line for the victory and a walk-off celebration.

“I thought it was kind of funny (facing five infielders) and knowing what we were going to do,” Lloyd said. “The double play wasn’t going to happen, so I just needed to put it down and Jayne was coming in hard. It was easy right there.”

Worrell’s solo home run in the bottom of the third made it 1-1 and gave him his first homer since the first week of the season at Campbell on Feb. 20.

The Pirates were down 3-1 in the sixth when Jenkins, like Worrell a secondary outfielder for the Pirates, yanked a two-run home run to right field with two outs. It was on a first-pitch offering from Camels’ starter Kevin Westlake, who gave up three runs in 5.2 innings with four strikeouts and four walks.

With starters Alec Burleson and Lane Hoover replaced during the game with injuries, the Pirates used seven different outfielders. That included infielders Lloyd and Nick Barner in center field.

“(Burleson) couldn’t swing a bat,” Godwin said of two-way player Burleson, who was hit by a pitch in the arm during the sixth inning. “Those guys will be day-to-day.”

Evan Voliva (5-3) earned the pitching victory thanks to the two critical outs he recorded in the top of the ninth when the visitors had runners on first and third with one out. Voliva replaced Ryder Giles on the mound and induced consecutive fly outs to keep the scored tied at 3-3.

Evan Odum’s first career start lasted two-plus innings. Gavin Williams came in and retired the first nine Camels he faced, but he hit trouble in the sixth and was charged two runs on two hits in his 3.1 innings.

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

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