East Carolina enjoyed a bounce-back week on the diamond, posting a 4-1 record with a win at Top-10 Ole Miss, and a weekend sweep of Marist. ECU’s only loss came to No. 7 Mississippi State on Tuesday.
The productive week allowed ECU (12-5) to hold firm or move up slightly in the national polls. Here’s a look at where exactly the Pirates’ stand after four weeks of the college baseball season.
Baseball America: No. 14 (Prev. No. 14)
Perfect Game: No. 16 (Prev. No. 16)
D1Baseball: No. 17 (Prev. No. 18)
The past week got off to a bit of a rough start in Mississippi. Despite a solid start from sophomore pitcher Gavin Williams, ECU struggled to hit the Bulldogs’ pitching on a cold evening in Starkville, falling 4-1 on Tuesday. Turner Brown‘s RBI double in the top of the sixth was ECU’s only run of the outing as the Pirates left 10 runners on base.
ECU’s offense was held down for the most part the following day versus Ole Miss, but the outstanding performance of starting pitcher Jake Kuchmaner led the Pirates to victory. The sophomore lefty held the Rebels to a no-hitter for 8 2/3 before allowing a two-out single. Kuchmaner departed from the game and the bullpen held on for the 3-2 victory, standing the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Spencer Brickhouse drove in all three of the Pirates’ runs with a three-run home run.
Starting pitcher Jake Agnos shined in his initial Friday night start of the season against Marist, striking out 10 and walking only one over seven innings in a 5-0 win in the series opener versus Marist.
Game 2 was the most competitive of the series between the Pirates and Red Foxes. Marist led 3-1 entering the middle innings before ECU came back to tie it and force extra innings. Pinch-hitter Christian Smallwood eventually sent ECU to a 4-3 victory with a walk-off double in the bottom of the 12th. The Pirates’ bullpen tossed 7.1 scoreless innings to keep ECU in the game.
Sunday’s series finale was much more of a slugfest that resulted in a 10-5 ECU win and the Pirates’ second sweep of the season. Four ECU players tallied double-digit hits on Sunday. Brown had his second consecutive three-hit day, going 3-for-5 with two triples and a pair of runs scored. Bryant Packard went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a two-run home run. Brady Lloyd had a two-run single and two hits to raise his season average to .288. Freshman Thomas Francisco went 2-for-4 with an RBI single.
ECU has another difficult week ahead. The Pirates play all four games on the road, starting Tuesday at Duke against a Top 25-caliber team in Durham. The Blue Devils are coming off a series win at Virginia. East Carolina then heads to Maryland for a three-game series this weekend. The Terrapins just won 2-of-3 games at Stetson this past weekend.