GREENVILLE — Seth Caddell singled through the left side to score Connor Norby in the bottom of the 11th inning and give East Carolina a 4-3 victory over Illinois State in the opener of a 3-game series at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday night.
Norby singled to center to start the decisive frame for the Pirates (14-3) and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Agnos. The Redbirds (5-10) intentionally walked Thomas Francisco, who had belted two home runs, before Caddell ended the nonconference contest on a 1-0 pitch.
ECU outhit the visitors, 10-5, but Pirate batters struck out 15 times. Illinois State whiffed 17 times. ECU starter Gavin Williams struck out seven in five innings. Cam Colmore fanned five in three innings of relief.
“It feels good to win but I don’t think we played as good as we could tonight,” Caddell said. “We weren’t tough enough, obviously, offensively.”
Pirate coach Cliff Godwin felt his club “took its foot off the gas” after a 2-run homer to right by Francisco provided a 2-1 lead in the first.
Francisco hit a solo shot to right center in the sixth for a 3-1 ECU advantage.
The Redbirds tied the score at 3 on a 2-run double by Gunner Peterson in the ninth.
Francisco, Caddell and Bryson Worrell had two hits each for ECU.
Ryder Giles (1-0) got the win with two scoreless innings of relief.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m.