East Carolina staged a furious ninth-inning rally to tie the game and eventually beat Penn State, 6-5, in the 10th to grab a series victory over the Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates improved to 13-4 on the season while PSU moved to 3-13.
Here's more insight into the comeback...
News and Notes
- Penn State seized an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third stanza. J.C. Coban and Sean Deegan each laced run-scoring doubles off ECU starter Tyler Joyner.
- ECU trimmed the deficit in half an inning later. Reigning Conference USA Hitter-of-the-Week Drew Reynolds hit a one-out double and later scored on Jay Cannon's RBI single.
- Coban added two-run round-tripper home run in the seventh to give Penn State a 4-1 lead. He added an RBI triple to right-center in the ninth and finished the day 3-for-4 - a single short of the cycle - with four RBIs.
- Penn State starter John Walter was brilliant on the mound for the Nittany Lions. He allowed just one run (earned) on five hits while striking out four and walking three in 7 2/3 innings.
- Corey Thompson, Bryan Bass and Drew Reynolds each recorded a multi-hit performance for the Pirates.
- Tyler Joyner tossed eight innings, allowed four runs and struck out seven batters.
Recapping the Comeback
- Trailing 5-1 in the ninth, pinch-hitter Nick Thompson led off the inning with a groundout to Elliot Searer at shortstop. Jonathan Holt entered the game to bat for Jack Reinheimer and drew a four-pitch walk off closer Casey Kulina. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Holt moved to third following Bass' single to right. Bass notched his first career multi-hit contest on Saturday.
- With runners on first and third and one out, Kulina momentarily curtailed the Pirates' momentum with a strikeout of Tim Younger. After Thompson swung at a pitch in the dirt, which made the count 1-2 in Kulina's favor, the senior third baseman drove the next offering over the fence in left-center to give East Carolina hope as it cut the decit to 5-4. The long ball bounced off the yellow foam and crawled over the wall - it was Thompson's third homer of the year.
- John Wooten stepped into the box and worked a full count against Penn State's lefty closer. He received a 3-2 slider across the inner-half of the plate and hit a scolding laser into the "Jungle," which knotted the score at five. Incidentally, Wooten and Thompson have each belted a trio of bombs, a mark that puts the pair of infielders in a tie for the team-lead.
The Game-Winning Run
- Zach Wright drew a leadoff walk against Dave Walking in the 10th. Friday night's hero Jay Cannon moved Wright to second with a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for junior outfielder Philip Clark.
- Clark bounced a chopper to second base for an infield single and Luis Montesinos' throw to first sailed over the head of Jordan Steranka, allowing Wright to cross home for ECU's second consecutive walk-off victory.
Sunday's Probable Pitching Starters
- Jharel Cotton (ECU) 3-0, 2.53 ERA vs. Steven Hill (PSU) 0-2, 5.61 ERA
Check out the '10th Inning' following Sunday's contest as we'll recap the series and look ahead to Tuesday's clash against in-state rival N.C. State. First pitch for the series finale against the Nittany Lions is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.