GREENVILLE — East Carolina won its 2018 baseball opener 8-3 over Western Carolina at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.
Pirates sophomore first baseman Spencer Brickhouse led off the bottom of the second inning with a home run to right field to tie the score at 1. Brady Lloyd had an RBI single to center later in the frame that put ECU ahead to stay and Turner Brown had a sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.
The Pirates scored four runs in the fourth to lead 7-2 as Bryant Packard had a sacrifice fly, Alec Burleson had an RBI single and Brickhouse brought in two runs with a single through the right side.
In the sixth, Dwanya Williams-Sutton reached on an error and moved to third on a single by Brickhouse before coming home on a sacrifice fly to left by redshirt sophomore catcher Jake Washer.
Brickhouse went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Lloyd was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Sophomore right-hander Trey Benton went five innings for the win. He yielded seven hits and two runs, both earned. He struck out seven without a walk.
Davis Kirkpatrick followed Benton to the mound and struck out two without a hit in the sixth.
Burleson, a left-hander who was in the game as designated hitter, pitched the seventh and eighth. He was nicked for an unearned run in the eighth while allowing two hits on the day with five whiffs and no walks.
Sam Lanier tossed a scoreless ninth, yielding one hit with one strikeout.
Third baseman Connor Litton had a hit, drew two walks and scored twice for the Pirates. Washer and Packard also had hits.
Lloyd had a stolen base and Williams-Sutton was hit twice by pitches.
Getting two hits each for the Catamounts were Matthew Koehler, Andrew Bullock and Caleb Robinson.
Tristan Baker gave up seven runs, six of which were earned, and was saddled with the loss. He allowed six hits, walked five and struck out three.
Western was charged with four errors.
“Anytime you can come out to the ball park with over 3,000 fans (3,001) on a nice day like we had today and get a win, is great,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “I thought our guys were engaged the whole game and we didn’t take our foot off the gas when we were ahead.
“We grinded out some tough at-bats and I like what I saw offensively. Trey (Benton) did a nice job for us and his fast ball I thought had a lot of sink to it. I liked the way we pitched as a staff today, which is evident with 15 strikeouts and no walks.”
The teams are scheduled to continue the three-game series with a 2 p.m. start Saturday.
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