In a game that drew 30 pro scouts for an elite duel between lefty pitchers, it seemed whoever won that matchup would likely win the game.
So it was, as No. 12 ECU got a 5-1 series-opening win over No. 18 UConn Thursday Night behind the performance of Jake Agnos. He went 8.2 innings, allowed just one run and struck out 14 batters. Agnos logged 129 pitches while almost going the distance.
“That’s the best (Agnos) ever pitched and I let him go into the ninth inning because of it,” “In a lot of his outings, he’s gotten stronger as the game’s gone on. He’s a competitor. He’s an adrenaline junkie, I think when he feels the crowd get behind him he can go back and get some extra,” ECU head coach Cliff Godwin told Hoist the Colours.
He outdueled UConn starter and AAC Preseason pitcher-of-the-year Mason Feole. Feole was Agnos’ teammate on the USA Collegiate Baseball team over the summer, as well as Packard and Godwin was on the coaching staff.
Agnos walked only one hitter all night but it is what kept him from a complete game. Agnos would have struck the last hitter out but a questionable call led to a walk and his pitch count was simply too high to continue. Agnos, putting it lightly, was not happy about Godwin pulling him out of the game and was heated.
“It was immature on my part. I should have taken a deep breath and realized where I was at. I didn’t realize I was at 129 pitches. That was my fault. I was more upset about the strike call. I shouldn’t do that to Coach Godwin. He left me out there and allowed me to do that,” Agnos told Hoist the Colours.
Agnos set a career-high for innings pitched. His 14 strikeouts were a career-high and the most by a Pirate pitcher since Jeff Hoffman in 2014.
Agnos didn’t lose a beat all night, consistently hitting 92-93 miles per hour in the ninth inning and hitting 94 MPH on his 126th pitch of the night. A second-inning solo home run to Pat Winkell was the only run he gave up.
Evan Voliva came in and got the final out for Agnos after he came out.
“I’ve got to protect him of his health. Every decision I make is in the best interest for our program and the health of our kids,” Godwin told Hoist the Colours.
ECU’s offense totaled 12 hits as a team and scored one run in five different innings. Brady Lloyd led the way after being moved up to second in the batting order for the game. Lloyd went 3-for-5 and was 3-for-3 off of Feole. Lloyd had an RBI double in the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth inning to make it 3-1.
Alec Burleson put the Pirates on the board first with an RBI single in the first. Jake Washer laid down an RBI bunt single in the seventh inning, and Packard finished off the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth inning.
It was an important game in terms of the standings as well. ECU is now 9-1 in AAC play while UConn falls to 7-6.
The two teams will have Friday off due to a schedule change and will play a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 9 a.m. instead.