Ailing Pirates Drop First Game Of The Season To Campbell
Dylan Johnson / ESPN Greenville
the 11th ranked East Carolina University baseball team is not going to go undefeated this season. The Pirates struggled to play well until the eighth inning of its Wednesday matchup with Campbell. Despite rallying for a late tie, a walk-off single in the bottom
of the ninth handed ECU a 7-6 loss and lowers their record to 3-1. It was the first time Campbell has defeated ECU since 2015. Here are some takeaways:
- Big pitching matchup: Tons of scouts came in to see a marquee pitching matchup. ECU started hard-throwing sophomore Gavin Williams, while Campbell threw Seth Johnson. Both pitchers maintain a fastball consistently in the upper 90’s. Both starters went 4.0 innings. Johnson struck out five and gave up only one hit. Williams struck out a career-high seven batters and gave up one unearned run.
- More injury trouble: Outfielder Bryant Packard didn’t play again after hurting his hand over the weekend against Radford. That was bad enough, but first baseman Spencer Brickhouse exited the game in the fourth inning after an uncomfortable swing. “I’m not going to put them in a situation where I feel like it won’t be beneficial to their health. The No. 1 priority for me is to make sure Bryant Packard and Spencer Brickhouse get healthy. I’m not going to put them in a situation where we win one game because they play and it sets them back one month. We’re going to wait for them to get healthy,” ECU head coach Cliff Godwin told reporters after the game.
- Clutch play: The Pirates had nothing going for them early on. They were down 4-0 and had just two hits. Outfielder Bryson Worrell launched a three-run home run, his second of the season so far, to cut the deficit to one. Then a bases-loaded double play preceded Alec Burleson’s first career collegiate home run, a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6. It couldn’t have come at a better time – with two outs left in the top of the ninth inning.
- Un-clutch play: Despite some clutch hitting in the last two innings by the Pirates, the pitching couldn’t come up as clutch. After ECU cut the deficit to one in the eighth, Ryder Giles gave up a two-run home run for the lead to balloon back to three. Then after Burleson’s ninth-inning heroics, Zach Barnes recorded just one out before giving up the game-winner in the ninth.
- Godwin unhappy with team’s play: ECU ended up making it a close game and lost on a walk-off hit, but the majority of the game wasn’t pretty for the Pirates. Perhaps the cold rainy weather made it a fluke and coach Godwin saw something constructive that we didn’t? Perhaps not. Godwin expressed discontent with their play after the game, saying they didn’t show up until the eighth inning and didn’t execute many things. “We did not play good tonight. We did not put ourselves in position to win a baseball game. It’s great to have this happen early because this has kind of been the MO since the fall with this team. When they get comfortable, they think they can just roll out here and win games. It’s not like that,” Godwin told reporters after the game.
ECU now readies itself for another home series this weekend, hosting Monmouth at Clark-LeClair Stadium. ECU will hope for progress with Packard and Brickhouse both and for Burleson to continue to play extremely well. The starting rotation will stay the same as last weekend, Burleson, Agnos, and Smith, in that order.