The ECU Pirates baseball team had themselves as good of a day as one could. Hours after eliminating their in-state rival, they exercised their demons against Quinnipiac a day after losing to that same Bobcats team.
ECU’s offense exploded in a 13-3 win in Sunday night’s elimination game, their second win in an elimination game in the day. Jake Washer led the charge at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI on the day. His first home run started the scoring and ECU never looked back.
“It was awesome, we really set the tone early. We really wanted to send a message. Yeah they got us night one but we’re still here and we’re still tough, and we can beat anybody out there. It just set the tone and just loosened everybody up,” Outfielder Chandler Jenkins said.
The Pirates now advance to the finals of the regional against Campbell at 1 p.m. on Monday. ECU would need to win that game and then defeat Campbell a second time later Monday to win the regional and advance.
“Obviously a long day for us, but I told them afterward, ‘There’s no time to be tired. We can be tired in the offseason. We’re going to sleep quickly tonight. We’re promised one game tomorrow. We’ll worry about winning the first pitch tomorrow when we show up,” ECU head coach Cliff Godwin said.
“We are in a marathon, but you can’t run the entire marathon taking all the steps. It’s one step at a time.”
It continued a hot streak for Washer, who also homered in his final at-bat of the game against NC State. Washer became the first ECU player to hit a home run in three consecutive at-bats since Ryan Jones in 2004.
It also begins a hot streak for the team as a whole. ECU was powered by four home runs on the night. Washer hit two, Bryant Packard launched a two-run home run and Bryson Worrell hit his second home run of the regional late in the ballgame. The Pirates also totaled 19 hits as a team, with seven players recording multi-hit games.
They now have put together back-to-back wins with their backs up against the wall. That includes outscoring the opponent 24-5 in the two games combined.
ECU didn’t get the long outing from starting pitcher Tyler Smith that it may have hoped for, as he went 3.2 innings and gave up two runs. Smith had to come out because of a bases-loaded jam, in which he walked a run in to make it 5-2 and potentially let Quinnipiac back in the game. Ryder Giles came in and got a big strikeout to strand the bases loaded and keep ECU up three runs at the time.
From there, ECU’s relievers were able to be on cruise control. Cam Colmore, Zach Barnes, Garrett Saylor, and Evan Odum all went one scoreless inning each to keep Quinnipiac out of the game.
Packard’s home run was his first since April 26. He had struck out in his previous four at-bats and had been hobbled with a leg injury. Godwin wasn’t even sure if he’d play against Quinnipiac. He limped after his first at-bat. The Bobcats’ catcher had some words for Packard’s pimp job of the HR.
“He’s not 100 percent healthy, and to be honest I didn’t have him in the lineup to start with,” Godwin said.
ECU will be up against it tomorrow against Campbell. The Pirates will have all hands on deck as most pitchers on the roster are available to throw if need be.