Instant Victory! Cannon's Walk-Off Lifts ECU, 5-4

UABSPORTS.COM Junior Jay Cannon records first career walk-off hit as a Pirate
Junior Jay Cannon records first career walk-off hit as a Pirate

March 16, 2012

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jay Cannon's second home run of the season came in dramatic fashion as the junior from Fuquay Varina, N.C. sent a 2-1 offering from Joe Kurrasch to right field giving No. 25 East Carolina (12-4) a 5-4 walk-off win over Penn State (3-12) Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

In the bottom of the ninth, Zach Wright flied out to right field and Drew Reynolds grounded out to short setting up the showdown. Kurrasch, who was making his first start of the season, got Cannon to foul off the first pitch before Cannon worked a favorable count taking two consecutive balls. With a 2-1 count, Cannon was waiting for a fastball and got his pitch sending a long fly ball to right field for his first career walk-off hit.

The Pirates held a 4-3 lead going to the ninth, but a Reynolds wild pitch scored Luis Montesinos to knot the game at four with two outs. Montesinos led off the frame with a single through the left side and the Nittany Lions played small ball moving him around the bases on a ground out to first by Elliot Searer and another ground out to the right side of the infield, this time to second by pinch hitter Sam August putting Montesinos on third base.

Reynolds (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in relief working 1 2/3 innings where he allowed the game-tying run in the ninth and blowing his first save of the year. Starter Kevin Brandt worked six innings surrendering three runs (all earned) on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts in his fifth quality start of his senior campaign. True freshman Jeff Hoffman made his fifth appearance of the season out of the bullpen going 1 1/3 innings with a pair of strikeouts and one walk.

Kurrasch (1-1) suffered the loss despite setting down after allowing four runs through the first three stanzas. The southpaw, who went the distance for the Nittany Lions, retired 10 in a row from the fourth to the seventh. In all, he worked 8 2/3 frames giving up all five runs (four earned) on 10 hits with a career-best seven strikeouts.

The Pirates jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring a pair of runs in the second and third innings. Wright singled up the middle scoring John Wooten for the games first run and came around to score when Cannon reached on an infield single to short where Searer made a great play defensively deep in the whole, but through it away into the visitors dugout allowing the Pirates second run of the second frame.

In the third, ECU tacked on a pair of runs thanks to an RBI single from Chase McDonald that plated Thompson and a sac fly to center from Wright that pushed across Wooten.

Penn State responded with two runs in the fourth when Aaron Novak doubled to center scoring Joey DeBernardis and Jordan Steranka. In the sixth inning, Novak doubled again, this time to right center scoring DeBarnardis and cutting the lead to one, 4-3.

Offensively the Pirates registered double-digit hits for the fourth-straight game collecting 10 on the night. Wooten led all players with three base knocks, while Wright's two-RBI was tops for the Pirates. In his last four games, Wright has driven in nine runs and scored five times.

The two teams will be back in action Saturday afternoon with a 2 p.m. (EST) first pitch scheduled. ECU will send junior Tyler Joyner (3-0, 1.12 ERA) to the hill against John Waller (0-3, 5.40 ERA).