The ECU baseball team defeated Maryland 2-1 on Saturday afternoon to take the series win. Friday’s win featured an offensive explosion and dominant pitching but Saturday’s win was a pitching duel from both sides. Takeaways:
- Tyler Smith: After putting up nine runs on Friday, the ECU offense put up only two on Saturday and needed its starting pitcher to be great. Smith did just that, pitching six innings and giving up just one run on three hits. Only one of those hits was an extra-base hit (double). The only run Smith gave up came in the fourth inning on a passed ball. The Terps left eight runners on base. Speaking of good starts, Maryland starter Zach Thompson was no scrub, and went eight innings while only allowing the two runs in the second inning.
- Alec Burleson’s new role: Burleson began the season as the Friday night starter but has since been in a more flexible relief role for the Pirates. Burleson took the ball from Smith and pitched the last three innings in scoreless relief to get his first save of the season. Burleson didn’t give up a single hit and only walked two batters.
- Both ways: Burleson started the game at first base and was the Pirates best performer at the plate on top of the save on the mound. Burleson went 2-for-4 and knocked ECU’s only extra-base hit with a double. Burleson leads the Pirates with nine doubles on the season.
- Small ball: ECU’s offense would only need two runs to win on a day with great pitching and it got both of those in the second inning. Burleson led off with a single and Turner Brown walked after him. Jake Washer hit into a double play but Brady Lloyd singled home Burleson for the first run. From there, Lloyd stole second (tied for team-high fifth steal of the season) and Dusty Baker singled him home from second for the winning margin.
- Winning in multiple ways: On Friday ECU’s offense rolled and its big hitters rolled along with it. Washer, Spencer Brickhouse and Bryant Packard all had big days. Brickhouse didn’t play Saturday, and Washer and Packard each went 0-for-4 from the plate. Encouraging for the Pirates to be able to win still.
ECU improved to 14-6 with the win. The Pirates go for the series sweep Sunday at 1 p.m. with Trey Benton likely getting the start on the mound.