East Carolina began the 2012 campaign in impressive fashion as it earned a series sweep over Milwaukee with two victories on Saturday. In the first game of the doubleheader, Jharel Cotton provided the Pirates with a quality start to go along with a trio of home runs as the offense exploded late on the way to a 16-1 victory. In the second game of the twin-billing, ECU overcame a three-run deficit by plating four runs in the bottom of the seventh on its way to a 6-3 victory.
Here's more insight into the pair of victories...
- Jharel Cotton made his Division-I debut. The Virgin Islands product tossed six innings, gave up three hits, one run, and struck out four as ECU rolled to a 16-1 victory.
- Corey Thompson walked four times, marking the first time a Pirate has been awarded four free passes since Kyle Roller against Marshall on May 2, 2010.
- Jeff Hoffman made his collegiate debut and tossed a scoreless seventh. He faced the minimum and struck out one batter.
- In addition to Hoffman, Tyler Bolton, Deshorn Lake, and Nick Thompson experienced their first college games. Bolton pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing one walk. Lake finished the game for the Pirates by tossing the ninth. Lake needed only five pitches to retire the side. Thompson recorded a single in his only at-bat.
- John Wooten extended his hitting streak to nine games.The junior first baseman and Jay Cannon scored three runs apiece.
- Cannon collected two hits in Saturday's opener, which included his first home run in an ECU uniform. The JUCO transfer drove in three runs, joining Jack Reinheimer and Philip Clark as Pirates with three RBIs in the game.
- Leading 5-1 in the sixth, ECU blew the game wide open with a seven-run inning. Cannon sparked the rally with a two-run single to left.
- Bryan Bass recorded his first career hit as a Pirate.
- Gosik experienced his first action of 2012, collecting two hits and a pair of RBIs. He reached base in all three plate appearances.
- McDonald and Fultz smacked their first homers of the season. McDonald hammered an offering from Milwaukee's Mike Schneider over the wall in right to leadoff the second inning while Fultz led off the fourth with a bomb.
- McDonald was awarded the 'Game Ball' by Coach Billy Godwin. McDonald finished 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. He also scored a pair of runs.
East Carolina 6, Milwaukee 3 (Game 2):
- Junior lefty Tyler Joyner - in only his second career appearance for the Pirates - was remarkable in relief. Joyner hurled 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball as he allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out four. He kept East Carolina in the game as it overcame a three-run deficit. Joyner was awarded the 'Game Ball' for his performance in the series finale.
- Wooten extended his hitting streak to ten games with a solo shot in the fifth inning. It was the 11th homer of his career.
- Drew Reynolds collected his second save of the series. Reynolds pitched an unblemished ninth as he fanned two batters. He needed just 10 pitches to earn the save after tossing just three to secure an ECU victory in the season opener. In 1 1/3 innings, the Cherryville, N.C. native has not allowed a hit and struck out three hitters.Reynolds started the game in left field after Fultz was injured in Saturday's first game.
- Cannon continued to impress during Saturday's nightcap. He had a single and added an insurance run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.He finished the weekend 4-for-9 with a home run and drove in four runs. Wooten and Cannon lead the team with five runs scored, accounting for 10 of the Pirates' 26 plated this weekend.
- After a Reynolds sacrifice bunt, Younger tied the game 3-3 with a two-run single through the left side. The senior second baseman is off to a torrid start, finishing the series with six hits in nine at-bats. He also drove in three runs.
- Thompson lined the game-winning double into the right field corner just past the outstretched arm of Milwaukee's Drew Pearson. His extra-base hit gave the Pirates a 5-3 lead, one they would not relinquish. Thompson - who hit .500 in three games - and Younger finished with three hits apiece.
- The Pirates' bullpen was spectacular during opening weekend. In three wins, the relievers combined to pitch 11 scoreless innings while giving up just three hits. They issued three walks and struck out 11 Milwaukee batters.
Don't forget to check out the '10th Inning Blog' on Wednesday as we help prepare you for a mid-week contest against Old Dominion.