Despite a pretty dreadful weekend of weather, the East Carolina Pirates made it a perfect weekend on the diamonds.
Friday’s weather was near perfect and the Pirate faithful came out in droves to see action on the big and little diamonds.
ECU baseball opened the day with a 6-2 opening day win over Radford. It was the first game of a doubleheader because of the impending weather.
Trey Benton picked up the opening game win in relief of Alec Burleson. Spencer Brickhouse made it 3-3 in his opening days in his career with a two-run home run that gave the Pirates the lead for good.
Game two featured the only blowout of the weekend. ECU exploded for 10 runs in the second inning. Bryson Worrell hit a two run home run in the first inning and then Bryant Packard hit a two-run shot to highlight the 10-run frame. ECU went on to win the game by the score of 15-9.
“Winning doubleheaders isn’t easy,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin told the media afterwards. “Percentages say that regardless of the teams, most of the time you split. So this was really a great start for our team.”
The Pirates took Saturday off because of the heavy rains in the area, but then got back to work with a noon start on Sunday.
Sunday’s weather was damp and cold. A steady drizzle throughout part of the game made playing conditions much less than desirable. In fact, Packard didn’t play after bruising his hand in game two of the doubleheader Friday. That was a precautionary move and ‘Pack’ should be back for the Campbell game this week.
The story of ECU’s 4-3 win to sweep the series was the pitching of both Evan Voliva and Sam Lanier.
Voliva came on in relief of starter Tyler Smith. Voliva gave up just one hit in his 2 and 1/3 innings of work. Sam Lanier closed out the contest notching his first save in over two years with 2 scoreless frames in which he surrendered one hit, walked one and fanned two.
Godwin had told the crowd at the preseason Pirate Baseball Banquet that Lanier was throwing better than he ever had. It showed as he picked up the game three save.
“This was a day that you just had to find a way to win,” said Godwin. “I know the fans would rather see the 15-5 offensive games, but sometimes this is how you have to get it done.”
Courtney Oliver’s softball team is certainly getting it done.
Oliver and her Pirates built on their impressive start by sweeping their four games in the Pirate Clash.
ECU had walk-off wins in the first two games, beating Wagner 7-6 and knocking off Cleveland State 9-8 in eight innings.
The Pirates followed up those victories with a 7-5 win on Saturday over Saint Francis and a 6-3 win on Sunday over Wagner.
The Pirates improve to 8-1 overall – the program’s best start to a season since 2006 when that team rolled off eight-straight wins to start the season.
“I just really love our team chemistry so far,” said Oliver. “The girls really enjoy being with one another. The two walk-off wins this past weekend were great, but I don’t think we win those games if we didn’t have this chemistry.”
The softball Pirates will take a five-game winning streak and continue their current home stand next weekend, welcoming Seton Hall, Boston College and James Madison to the ECU Softball Stadium for the Pirate Invitational.
It’s Monmouth on the big diamond and the Pirate Invitational on the smaller one for two of the gems in the athletic department next weekend at ECU.
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