After shutting out UNC Wilmington three weeks ago in the Port City, the Pirates were unable to capture a season sweep of their instate rival as the Seahawks stormed into Greenville and claimed a convincing 10-1 triumph over ECU in Tuesday night's non-conference matchup.
East Carolina (25-11-1) freshman right-hander Jeff Hoffman entered the contest having tossed 19 consecutive scoreless innings, but the visitors solved the 6-foot-4 flamethrower in the top of the second as Corey Dick blasted a towering three-run round-tripper to stake UNCW (21-16) to a 3-0 advantage.
Here's more insight into the Pirates' setback...
- After retiring the side in order in the first, Hoffman - the reigning Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week - ran into trouble in the second. Thomas Pope and Drew Farber reached on singles before Dick sent a 3-2 fastball over the right-field wall, giving the Seahawks a 3-0 lead. It was the second time this season Hoffman has allowed a homer in the second innings - the other coming in his first career start against N.C. State on Mar. 20.
- UNCW extended its lead in the fourth to 4-0 after Jake Koenig's groundout plated Pope, who reached on an infield single to lead off the frame.
- Hoffman (1-1) was chased from the game after Hunter Ridge ripped a two-run double off the wall in right center - the run-scoring two-bagger gave the CAA's first place team a 6-0 edge. Hoffman surrendered six runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out six in 4 2/3 stanzas - his shortest start of the year. In his last start against UNC Wilmington, the Latham, N.Y., native struck out a then career-best seven batters in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, earning his first collegiate win.
- Relievers Dylan Dickens and Dario Santangelo pitched through the eighth for the Pirates. Dickens yielded one run and Santangelo three in the top of the ninth. Austin Chrismon entered in the ninth and allowed three inherited runners to score, though the right-hander was not charged with a run. He recorded all three outs in the Seahawk-half of the ninth.
- East Carolina scored its only run in the bottom of the seventh. Tim Younger reached first after being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on Drew Reynolds' single to left. John Wooten drew a two-out walk and Cannon plated Younger with a run-scoring single over Pope's head at shortstop. The base knock trimmed the ECU deficit to 7-1 and the Pirates had a glimmer of hope with the bases still loaded, but Seahawk reliever Tom Timoney fanned reserve catcher Sam King on three straight pitches to escape the jam. King had replaced Zach Wright in the top-half of the inning after the senior backstop was hit in the elbow by a pitch in the fourth.
- UNCW starter Tyler DeLoach (3-2) had one of the more interesting stat lines you'll ever see from a hurler that only gave up two hits. Despite a seemingly solid outing on the rubber, DeLoach had to escape trouble all night - and he did, earning his third win of the campaign. He walked four batters and plunked four more despite yielding just a pair of hits and one earned run in 6 1/3 innings of work. The brawny southpaw struck out three Pirates.
- Four Seahawks recorded multiple hits on Tuesday. Ridge finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Pope scored three of the team's 10 runs as he notched four base knocks in as many at-bats. Dick had two hits - including the 3-R blast to right - in a five-RBI performance and Bass roped two singles while scoring a run and driving in another.
- UNCW put at least one runner on base in every inning except the first.
- Timoney walked a pair and struck out as many in 1 1/3 stanzas before handing the ball over to lefty Christian MacDonald, who allowed two hits on his way to recording the final four outs for the Seahawks.
Pirates Squander Opportunities
- Undoubtedly, East Carolina was outplayed by the surging Seahawks on Tuesday night inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, but it wasted a handful of prime scoring chances throughout the contest.
- Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the second, Cannon, Wright and Chase McDonald reached on free passes issued by DeLoach, but Philip Clark grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
- The Pirates stranded a runner in scoring position in the third and had runners on first and second in the fourth, but again failed to capitalize with men on base.
- It appeared that ECU had a chance to climb back into the game in the sixth (trailed 6-0) after DeLoach walked Cannon and plunked King to place Pirates at first and second with just one out, yet the shaky but effective Seahawk starter needed just two pitches to escape the jam, retiring Reinheimer and McDonald on consecutive pitches. Both hitters put a charge into fastballs, but UNCW was able to track down both to keep ECU off the scoreboard.
- Trailing 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh following Cannon's run-scoring single, the bases were full of Pirates with two outs, but Tim Timoney responded by striking out King on three pitches to maintain UNCW's six-run cushion.
- East Carolina also left a runner in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings - the Purple and Gold stranded 13 runners total in the lopsided defeat.
- Drew Reynolds was the lone bright spot in the Pirates' lineup as the sophomore designated hitter collected three base hits, moving him just one-thousandth of a point behind Tim Younger for the club's highest batting average.
- ECU recorded just five hits - Reynolds (three singles), Cannon (single), Wooten (double) - which marked the fewest knocks it had recorded since amassing the same amount Mar. 23 at UCF in a 2-1 loss. UNCW smacked three times as many hits Tuesday night - 15.
Looking to Rebound
- The Pirates return to the diamond Wednesday night for yet another clash with a CAA member. East Carolina welcomes William & Mary to Greenville for a 6 p.m. (EST) start as freshman right-hander Deshorn Lake (0-1, 7.11 ERA) will receive his second career starting nod while the Tribe will counter with southpaw Matt Wainman (3-3, 3.89).
- ECU is looking to avoid back-to-back losses. The last time the Purple and Gold suffered setbacks in consecutive games was Mar. 23-24 at the hands of UCF - the Knights clipped the Pirates 2-1 in the series opener and rallied the next day for a 10-6 victory.
Check out the '10th Inning' tomorrow night following East Carolina's matchup with William & Mary as the Pirates look to get back on track before hitting the road this weekend for a critical three-game Conference USA series against traditional power Rice.