ECU Pirates Baseball team sweeps Radford in opening series
Dylan Johnson / ESPN Greenville
11 ranked East Carolina University started off the 2019 season with a series sweep over Radford University. The Pirates won by scores of; 6-2, 15-9 and 4-3. The series required a doubleheader on Friday and game three on Sunday because of poor weather conditions
in Greenville on Saturday. Here are five takeaways.
- No Packard, no problem? : ECU outfielder Bryant Packard missed the series finale due to a bruise on his palm after crashing into the outfield fence in the first inning of game 2 on Friday. ECU head coach Cliff Godwin said that Packard could have played if it were May and late in the season, but that with poor weather this weekend it made sense to keep Packard out for precautionary reasons.
That didn’t stop the reigning AAC POY from being productive, however. Packard was 0-for-4 in the first game but in the second game went 3-for-5. He finished 3-for-9 for the series but drove in four runs, scored three himself and hit his first home run of the season.
No deep outings: None of ECU’s three starting pitchers went more than five innings in their outings. That was Alec Burleson, who threw 84 pitches in his five innings. All three starters also gave up at least two runs, Burleson and Sunday starter Tyler Smith gave up two each and Saturday starter Jake Agnos gave up three earned runs. None of the starting pitchers factored into the decision.
2. Solid bullpen play: Fortunately for ECU, the bullpen was reliable for the most part all weekend. Relief pitchers got the win in all three games, Trey Benton, Carter Spivey, and Evan Voliva. In the series opener, the bullpen gave up no runs and just one hit in four combined innings. In game 2 the bullpen gave up five runs in five innings of work but it wasn’t as noticeable with both teams combining for 24 runs in a high-scoring game. In the season finale, the bullpen pitched more like the opener, giving up only two hits in 4.1 innings. Voliva struck out a career-high five batters in his 2.1 innings of work that got him the win in the series finale.
3. Alec Burleson, doing everything: As mentioned previously, Burleson gave up two runs in his five innings of work in starting the season opener on the mound. Burleson also led the Pirates at the plate, batting .600 over the weekend and driving in three runs. Burleson usually only splits time between designated hitter or first base but was called on to play some right field even. Godwin called Burleson a “wannabe outfielder” on an episode of Cliff’s cab, but in seriousness praised Burleson for doing whatever is asked of him and admitted it is usually a lot.
4. Brckhouse’s opening day tradition: Spencer Brickhouse began his third season with ECU this weekend and did something he has done each season: hit a home run on opening day. Brickhouse hit a towering home run to right field (that landed on the practice football field next door) in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 2-2 game. The two-run shot broke the tie and ECU never looked back in the 6-2 win.
5. ECU batted around the order with ease when it scored 10 runs in the second inning of that 15-9 exciting win on Friday. It was the first time ECU scored 10 or more runs in one inning since scoring 11 in an inning against North Carolina Central back in March of 2010, a game ECU ended up finishing with 30 runs.
ECU will travel to Buies Creek to play against the Campbell Camels Wednesday at 5 p.m. The Pirates had no problem with the Camels last season, sweeping the season series 2-0. ECU defeated Campbell 7-2 in the first meeting on Feb. 21, and 12-7 on May 15.