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Long night for Pirates

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

Post-game Audio: Godwin, Voliva, Yorgen...

GREENVILLE   East Carolina's youthful midweek pitching corps was no match for the meat of the North Carolina order as an eight-run outburst in the second inning served as a launching pad for a 17-4 Tar Heels win on Tuesday night.

A crowd of 5,213, the third largest ever at Clark-LeClair Stadium and biggest this season, saw the Pirates strike first but the excitement of a possible third straight win over UNC didn't last long.

ECU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after leadoff batter Parker Lamm was hit by a pitch from UNC starter Cole Eaker. Lamm was erased on a steal attempt of second but Charlie Yorgen and Travis Watkins had one-out singles. Yorgen scored from third on a grounder to short by Kirk Morgan.

Tyler Lynn homered to left with one out in the second to tie the score at 1.

The Tar Heels took a 2-1 lead after Eli Sutherland was hit by a pitch from Pirates starter Evan Voliva. Brandon Riley had a single to move Sutherland to third. He scored on a sacrifice bunt by Cody Roberts as Voliva tried unsuccessfuly to get Sutherland coming home.

Voliva (0-1) lasted an inning and one-third. He yielded three hits, five runs (all earned) with one walk and one strikeout.

"I wasn't getting ahead of hitters," said the sophomore right-hander. "I was getting behind in counts. It came back to bite me."

After Voliva walked Brian Miller to load the bases, ECU brought Davis Kirkpatrick to the mound.

Adam Pate had a three-run double off Kirkpatrick for a 5-1 Tar Heels lead.

A mammoth three-run homer over the scoreboard in right-center by Tyler Ramirez pushed the lead to 8-1 and resulted in a call to the bullpen for freshman Matt Bridges. The sidearmer prevented further damage on the scoreboard as he stranded runners at second and third with a ground out.

UNC sent 13 batters to the plate in the second and collected six hits.

An RBI double by Kyle Datres pushed UNC's lead to 9-1 in the third and brought Cam Colmore to the mound.

Eaker ran into trouble in the third after retiring the first two batters. Watkins drew a walk and Morgan singled. Eric Tyler was hit by a full count pitch.

Watkins scored on a wild pitch before UNC brought in A.J. Bogucki for an inning-ending strikeout.

Bogucki was replaced by Spencer Trayner (1-0) after the Pirates scored a pair of runs in the fifth. Morgan had a single to score Yorgen and Eric Tyler's hit scored Watkins to draw ECU within 9-4. Trayner stranded two runners with a strikeout and a ground out.

Lamm tried to score from third on a pitch that caromed off the backstop and back to Tar Heel catcher Cody Roberts for a tag out in the fifth. The Pirates couldn't get a bounce in their own park.

The matchup kept going for three hours and 45 minutes with 13 pitchers, 21 runs and 30 hits. It was a long night for the Pirates in another sense.

"Personally, I'm embarrassed," said Yorgen, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. "You come to East Carolina to win baseball games and play in front of 5,000-plus. We didn't play our best baseball so we need to get back on track. ... We can definitely bounce back and be learners from it."

Yorgen was part of ECU teams that beat the Tar Heels twice when the programs last met in 2014. What was the difference this time around?

"The momentum, I guess," said the junior infielder. "We'd fight and try to get the momentum in our dugout. But we'd walk a guy or they would get a big extra-base hit. We were constantly trying to get momentum and we just couldn't. They were relentless. Credit to them. They put up an eight spot and they just kept tacking on."

UNC (13-2) added four runs in the sixth and four more in the eighth.

"I'm not going to take any credit away from their offense but every hitter was hitting in an advantage count," said ECU coach Cliff Godwin.

Although the Pirates were only outhit 16-14, the visitors were more powerful and productive. ECU left 13 on base.

"We have to have short term memory loss, forget about it and bounce back (Wednesday) at practice," Yorgen said.

Godwin used eight pitchers, five of them freshmen. Junior college transfer Zack Mozingo made his first appearance on the mound for ECU.

The Pirates issued eight walks.

Kirkpatrick is a redshirt sophomore working his way back from Tommy John surgery that kept him sidelined last year.

"The second inning got out of control," Godwin said. " ... Thanks to the fans for coming out and we'll get better."

ECU must regroup for a three-game series at home against Monmouth that starts on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

PAGE UPDATED 03/16/16 07:31 PM.

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