ECU Takes Series From UCF, 5-3

UABSPORTS.COM Chase McDonald drove in his second career game-winning RBI in the third inning.
Chase McDonald drove in his second career game-winning RBI in the third inning.

April 17, 2011

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Freshman Chase McDonald collected a career-best four hits and drove in two runs, while junior Kevin Brandt picked up his fifth win of the season as East Carolina (24-12, 6-6) took the rubber match from UCF (22-14, 4-8) 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

McDonald broke a two-all tie and highlighted a three-run third inning with a bases loaded two-RBI single that scored Zach Wright and John Wooten. Wright drew one of this three walks on the day to start the frame, Wooten reached on throwing error by the second baseman Travis Shreve and Trent Whitehead loaded the bases with a bunt single back to the pitcher setting up McDonald's two-run base hit through the left side that gave ECU its first lead of the game at 4-2. Philip Clark moved Whitehead to third and McDonald to second on a sac bunt to third and Tim Younger capped the inning with a ground out to second that plated Whitehead for a 5-2 advantage.

Brandt, who improved to 5-0 on the year, got off to a slow start allowing a run in each of the first and second frames before settling down and retiring 13 of the next 14 batters faced. In all, the left-hander surrendered three runs (all earned) on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 8.0 innings. Senior righty Seth Simmons recorded his fifth save of the year and 25th of his career working a scoreless ninth with three punch outs and a hit.

Nick Cicio (1-2) was touched for five runs (two earned) on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Matt Collins relieved Cicio and closed out the third allowing a walk in two-third's of an inning. Sunday's regularly scheduled starter for the Knights Danny Winkler tossed 5.0 innings of scoreless relief striking out six, walking two and allowing four hits.

UCF jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first when Jonathan Griffin singled home Darnell Sweeney from second base. Sweeney drew a lead off walk and moved into scoring position on D.J. Hicks' single through the left side.

ECU responded with a run of its own in the bottom half of the stanza tying the game at one. Ben Fultz laced a single to right center on the first pitch he saw to start the inning then took second on Jack Reinheimer's bunt single to third. Wright loaded the bases with a walk and Wooten reached on a RBI fielder's choice that pushed across Fultz.

The Knights regained the lead, 2-1, in the second on Sweeney's two-out RBI single that scored Beau Taylor. Shreve reached on a fielder's choice and took third on a Brandt failed pickoff with one out before Taylor followed with a shot to first base, where Wooten threw home nailing Shreve for the second out of the inning. Taylor moved to third on a wild pitch and crossed home on Sweeney's second hit of the game.

Reinheimer's lone RBI of the day tied the game at two in the bottom of the second. McDonald led off with a single up the middle and landed on third on Clark's bunt single when Shreve overthrew first air-mailing the ball into the visiting dugout putting runners on second and third. With a man down, Reinheimer poked a full-count offering to right field plating McDonald.

Hicks' RBI single in the seventh pulled the Knights within two, 5-3. Sweeney singled with two outs for his third hit of the game and took second when Ronnie Richardson was hit by a pitch before coming home on Hicks third hit of the contest.

For the third-straight game ECU recorded multiple hits out swinging UCF 11-9 on the afternoon. McDonald (4-for-4) and Reinheimer (2-for-5) were the only Pirates with multiple hits, while McDonald recorded his third career multi-RBI game of the season.

The Pirates will be back in action on Tuesday, April 19 when they play host to in-state rival UNC Wilmington before heading to Houston for a three-game series April 21-23.