Brandt, a native of Fuquay Varina, turned in his best performance of the year against one of the most dangerous teams on the Pirates' 2012 schedule. The southpaw overwhelmed SBU as he tossed eight scoreless innings giving up just four hits and walking two. He was very democratic in his work retiring four batters by strikeout, eight by flyout and 12 via the groundout.
Here are some news and notes from Friday's shutout victory...
Brandt vs. Johnson
- The term "tough-luck loser" has never been more applicable. Johnson was masterful on Friday night in a 1-0 defeat throwing eight innings, scattering six hits and yielding one run (earned) against an ECU squad that returned eight positional starters from a year ago. He issued a pair of free passes and did not record a strikeout. (11 flyouts, 12 groundouts, one runner caught stealing)
- East Carolina did not record its first hit off of Johnson until the bottom of the fourth. Senior third baseman Corey Thompson roped a single to left after the Stony Brook ace had retired 11 consecutive batters to start the game. Through five frames, Johnson faced one hitter over the minimum and only one runner reached second base. He retired 16 of the first 17 he faced.
- Brandt improved to 2-1 on the year and lowered his ERA to 1.25. He bounced back this evening after taking the loss in last Friday's setback at the hands of Purdue. He pitched more than eight innings just once in 2011, a complete game victory over No. 21 Rice on Apr. 10.
- Brandt's Totals in 2012: 2-1, 1.25 ERA, 21 2/3 IP, 14 H, 6 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 17 K ... he has allowed just one extra base hit and is holding opponents to a paltry .187 batting average.
- East Carolina and Stony Brook were knotted in a scoreless tie with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Philip Clark delivered a single through the pitcher's legs to start the rally. Jack Reinheimer followed with a base knock to the left side advancing Clark to second. Bryan Bass - who recorded his first start of 2012 and initial career start as an outfielder - stepped up with runners on first and second and one out. Bass drew a five-pitch walk, which set the stage for Thompson. The senior leader lifted a 3-2 offering from Johnson deep to left and plated Clark on the sacrifice fly. It marks the 15th career game-winning RBI for the Apex native. Presason All-American Willie Carmona prevented further damage when he snared a John Wooten liner at third base for the final out of the sixth.
Department of Defense
- While Kevin Brandt was brilliant, his defense was at its best on Friday. After Carmona and Max Tissenbaum laced consecutive singles in the top-half of the fourth, Tanner Nivins looped a sinking liner into shallow right field. Clark - who joined Reinheimer as the only Pirates with two hits - sprinted in and made a run-saving, sliding grab to retire Nivins. Clark threw behind Carmona - who was running on the pitch - and the double play helped ECU escape the jam.
- In the top of the fifth, Brandt walked Cole Peragine to leadoff the frame. After a strikeout, the ace induced a ground ball which resulted in a perfectly-turned 6-4-3 double play by Reinheimer, Tim Younger and Wooten.
- Head coach Billy Godwin called on Drew Reynolds to secure the win for the Pirates. The Cherryville, N.C., native surrendered a leadoff single to begin the ninth. He followed by striking out Carmona. Just like his fellow staff member, Reynolds used a twin-killing to avoid putting the game-tying run in scoring position as a 4-6-3 turn ended the game and clinched the opening series win. It marked the fourth save in as many chances for Godwin's go-to utility player.
What a Relief
- The East Carolina bullpen continued its dominance. Check out these eye-popping season totals through eight games...
**2012: 2-1, 0.34 ERA, 4 SV, 26.2 IP, 15 H, 2 R (1 ER), 9 BB, 28 K; the pen is holding its opponents to a .165 batting average.
Other News and Notes
- Saturday Probable Pitching Starters: Tyler Joyner (LHP) vs. Brandon McNitt (RHP) - Joyner enters the contest sporting a 2-0 record with an outstanding 0.77 ERA. Although last season's campaign ended with Brandt as the lone lefty, Joyner now gives the pitching staff a second option from the left side. In his first appearance of 2012, Joyner relieved Chrismon and stymied Milwaukee's attack to earn his first career win. He followed the standout performance with a win over Western Carolina in which he lasted seven innings yielding three hits and one run in a 3-1 Pirate triumph.
- SPECIAL NOTE: TOMORROW'S GAME HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 6:00 P.M. (ET) DUE TO POTENTIAL SEVERE WEATHER IN THE AREA.
Check out the '10th Inning' after tomorrow's contest for news and notes from the second game as well as a peek into Sunday's series finale.