The ECU baseball team, running on fumes after 27 innings of baseball in two days, has almost climbed all the way out of a hole it found itself in when it lost Saturday in the first game of the regional and needed to pull off four straight wins in order to win the regional and advance.
The Pirates are three-fourths of the way there after they scored in each of the first five innings en route to a 10-3 win over Campbell Monday afternoon to force a game 7 Monday night. It was also the 200th win of Godwin’s career.
The winner of the night game will travel to Louisville for the super regional round next weekend.
The Pirates were led by three players who have performed so many times already in their ECU careers.
First of all, ECU catcher Jake Washer is simply so locked in at the plate right now that it’s more of a surprise when he doesn’t hit it well over the fence.
Washer went 2-for-3 against Campbell, driving in two runs and launching another home run. Washer has four home runs in the last three games and eight in the last nine games. In the last three games, Washer is 6-for-10 with nine RBI… Two of those outs were productive with an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly that scored a run as well.
Then there’s star outfielder Bryant Packard. Godwin didn’t think Packard would even be able to play against Quinnipiac after leaving the NC State game early with leg issues. He didn’t even have him in the lineup until Packard came and talked him into it. It is safe to say the decision to trust his player worked out well.
Since then, Packard is 5-for-8 with five RBI. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the win over Campbell alone.
And finally, two-way star Alec Burleson more than did his part to force a game 7 as well. Burleson went 2-for-4 with three RBI at the plate. Getting the start on the mound, he threw five innings while allowing just two runs.
ECU was perfectly executing small-ball tactics to get ahead early in the game. The Pirates got the leadoff hitter on base in the first seven innings of the game. From there, they used six sacrifice bunts in the first five innings. That led them to score in each of the first five innings.
ECU was able to rest most relievers, as Sam Lanier only needed nine pitches in a high leverage situation in the sixth inning. Cam Colmore went two big scoreless innings, and Garrett Saylor pitched the ninth.
Gavin Williams will get the start for ECU, but Godwin called it an obvious all hands on deck situation. Jake Kuchmaner is ready to go if Williams is pulled early, as he threw only 30 pitches on Saturday. Lanier, Voliva, and others are all surely ready to go.
ECU is outscoring opponents 32-8 in last three games. They are winning by such big margins that Godwin can rest guys like Packard and Washer the last two innings or so of each game.
Campbell won’t have MLB draft prospect Seth Johnson or Michael Horvell to throw against ECU.
Now, ECU has one last challenge ahead to come all the way back and win the Greenville regional and advance to the super regional.