GREENVILLE — Sophomore right-handers Trey Benton and Tyler Smith made a two-run second inning sufficient as East Carolina took a 2-1 win over North Carolina at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday evening.
Benton (2-0) struck out a career-high 11 and yielded two hits in six innings with 5,382 looking on, the third largest home crowd in ECU history.
Smith held the Tar Heels (2-4) hitless over the last three frames while fanning two and picking up his first collegiate save.
Jake Washer led off the second for the Pirates (5-0) with a single to right-center and he went to third on a double by Chandler Jenkins. Connor Litton drove in the first run with a ground out to second. Andrew Henrickson followed with an RBI single to right that brought in Jenkins for a 2-0 lead.
UNC’s unearned run in the top of the third was provided by Ike Freeman’s sacrifice fly.
“Trey Benton was awesome with 11 punch outs,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “Then Tyler Smith just filled up the strike zone, getting ground ball after ground ball.
“Two great pitching performances by our guys, which we needed because their pitchers were very good as well. Neither pitching staff gave you a lot of free opportunities, so tough hitting conditions tonight against quality pitching on both sides.
“We felt Tyler was a good matchup against their two, three and four hitters because they are kind of fast ball guys, so that’s why we left him in there at the end.”
The Pirates had 12 hits with Spencer Brickhouse, Henrickson, Jenkins and Litton collecting two each.
ECU’s three-game series with UNC continues tonight with the second meeting at Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 6 p.m.