GREENVILLE, N.C. – A four-run fourth catapulted East Carolina to a 5-1 victory over visiting Duke Wednesday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Tied 1-1 after three, the Pirates plated four and kept the Blue Devils off the board the rest of the way.
“I thought we pitched well,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “We didn't do a good job of getting off the field there in the fourth and that proved to be the difference in the ball game. East Carolina only scored in two innings. Both innings we gave them free offense. We gave them three free bases in the first inning that led directly to the run and then we gave them four free bases in the fourth. Outside of that, it was a very clean, well-played ball game by both sides.”
The two teams traded first-inning tallies. Sophomore Jimmy Herron doubled and scored on Griffin Conine's RBI base knock before Charlie Yorgen walked, stole second, stole third and crossed home on Eric Tyler's grounder in the bottom half.
Freshman Graeme Stinson pitched the first two innings. He allowed one run on two hits, walked one and struck out one in the no decision.
Despite encountering trouble in the first, ECU starter Kirk Morgan (2-0) successfully navigated a career-high six innings to exit with a 5-1 lead. Morgan yielded the one run on four hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
“We had a good approach in the first inning against Morgan,” Pollard said. “Took advantage of some free offense. Our situational approach was very good. Then [Morgan] settled in and we didn't do a good job of adjusting. He was down in the zone, he was sinking it and he was keeping his slider down. We didn't really adjust after he got settled in.”
The game remained a 1-1 affair until the bottom of the fourth. Six straight ECU batters reached base with two outs, resulting in four Pirate runs. Two walks and two singles ended freshman Matt Mervis' outing. Dwanya Williams-Sutton drove a single to right field before back-to-back hit batters with the bases loaded plated two. A strikeout ended the inning, but not before East Carolina claimed a 5-1 margin.
Mervis (2-2) took the loss. He gave up four runs on four hits with two walks in 1.2 innings.
After Morgan's departure, relievers Tyler Smith and Matt Bridges combined to allow one Duke hit the final three innings.
Herron finished the day 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored to lead the Blue Devils. Conine notched his team-leading 55th RBI of the season to drive in Duke's lone run.
Next up, Duke hosts Georgia Tech in a three-game ACC series Friday-Sunday, May 12-14 at Jack Coombs Field.