VCU (11-6) exploded for six runs in the sixth inning to break a 6-6 tie on its way to a 18-11 victory over ECU in a slugfest Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (11-4) fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first, but responded emphatically with five runs in the bottom half of the opening stanza to grab an early advantage.
However, VCU's offense - led by Bill Cullen and Joey Cujas - knotted the score at 5 in the second frame setting the tone for its outburst at the plate in a matchup of former Colonial Athletic Association foes.
Here's more insight into ECU's setback at the hands of the Rams...
News and Notes
- Jake Harris - coming off Tommy John surgery that sidelined the lefty for the last two months of the 2011 campaign - was roughed up in his first career start. He allowed five runs (all earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out a pair in 1 1/3 innings.
- Andy Smithmyer continued to impress on the mound for ECU as he relieved Harris with one out in the second. The diminutive righty allowed just one run (unearned) in 3 2/3 while surrendering one hit and striking out two.
- After dominating for the first 14 games on the 2012 ledger, the Pirate bullpen struggled mightily against VCU's high-octance offensive attack. After Smithmyer departed after the fifth, the relievers were unable to slow down Cullen and Co. ECU 'pen after the fifth inning - 4.0 IP, 12 H, 12 R (11 ER), 5 BB, 4 K.
- Cullen led off the game with a double to left-center and he didn't slow down the rest of the evening. He finished the contest with four hits - three doubles and a triple - four RBIs and five runs.
- The Rams leading offensive threat coming into the contest was Joey Cujas. He continued his impressive start in 2012 by driving in four runs and drawing three walks.
- Other Leading Hitters For VCU:
Vimael Machin - 3-for-6, three runs
Chris Ayers - 2-for-5, three RBIs
Paul Nice - 2-for-3, three runs, two RBIs, two BB
- The VCU coaching staff had originally planned to start freshman lefty Heath Dwyer against the Pirates. He was scratched on Monday night as Seth Cutler-Voltz ultimately received the starting nod. After Cutler-Voltz was touched for five runs in the first, Dwyer entered the game in the second and pitched beautifully. He tossed 6 1/3 innings giving up three runs (all earned) on six hits while fanning two batters. He earned the win and improved his record to 2-0.
- Jack Reinheimer, John Wooten, Jay Cannon and Philip Clark all recorded multi-hit performances for East Carolina. Wooten, Cannon and reserve catcher Sam King each scored two runs for the Pirates. King recorded his first collegiate hit with a pinch-hit single. Freshman Nick Thompson laced an RBI double in the eighth in his only at-bat. It was his second hit as a collegiate and first career extra-base knock.
- Zach Wright belted his first home run of the 2012 season with an opposite field blast in the first. He finished the game 1-for-3 with a team-best three RBIs.
- The Pirates return to action this weekend with a three-game set against Big Ten Conference member Penn State. First pitch for Friday's game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET).
Check out the '10th Inning' on Friday morning for a preview of the non-conference series as we provide an in-depth look into the weekend as ECU rapidly approaches the Conference USA schedule.