ECU blasts Keydets, 14-8
The VMI Keydets jumped out to a 6-2 lead after a six-run fourth inning, but the East Carolina Pirates scored 12 unanswered runs and went on to a 14-8 win in the opening game of the Terry Sisisky Classic, contested Friday afternoon at The Diamond in Richmond.
Jacob Morley hit a game-tying home run in the fourth inning, and Drew Bryan walked to force in a run later in the inning. Then, with two outs and the bases loaded, VMI’s (15-36) Rob Dickinson skied a pop-up to left field. ECU (34-19-1) left fielder Tim Younger came in two steps, stopped and lost the ball in the sun. It fell in for a three-run double and the Keydets took a 5-2 lead. They would add another run later in the inning, but the Pirates chipped away with three in the fourth and took the lead for good with two in the fifth.
All of the first seven runs were charged to Keydet starter Coby Cowgill (5-5), who took the loss by surrendering seven runs over four-plus innings. Andy Smithmyer (5-2) picked up the win in relief for East Carolina, throwing 4 1/3 hitless innings but giving up two runs, thanks to three walks and three hit batters.
ECU jumped ahead quickly in the first, as Younger led off with a double and went to third on an infield out. John Wooten then plated him with a sacrifice fly, and it was 1-0, Pirates. They added another run in the third when Wooten singled home another runner, but VMI struck for six runs in the fourth.
Piccirilli was hit by a pitch, and Morley immediately followed with a home run to deep left-center, his 11th of the year. The blast knotted the score, 2-2, and moved Morley to ninth on the all-time VMI total bases list, but the Keydets weren’t done. Two outs later, Matt Winn walked and Brandon Angus singled. Chase Worthington then walked to load the bases, and Bryan walked to force in a run. That set the stage for Dickinson’s sun-aided, bases-clearing double that gave VMI a 6-2 advantage.
ECU got three runs back in the fourth, and led off the fifth with a Zach Wright single. Corey Thompson doubled him home to tie the game, and end Cowgill’s night. Michael Devine relieved and walked the first batter he faced, but then induced a double play. Unfortunately for the Keydets, the next batter, Bryan Bass, drove home a run with an infield hit to put the Pirates up, 7-6.
East Carolina would go on to score the next eight runs of the contest, notching exactly one extra-base hit in each of their remaining at-bats to aid in scoring three runs in the sixth, three in the seventh and one in the eighth and putting them up, 14-6. VMI then put together a ninth-inning rally, as Smithmyer appeared to hit the wall. He retired the first batter, but Angus and pinch-hitter Gary LeClair walked. Fellow pinch-hitters Eric Mayers and Sheldon Shifflett were hit by pitches, forcing in a run and bringing a new arm out of the ECU bullpen. Dylan Dickens then hit Cameron Walter, forcing in a second run and accounting for the final margin, 14-8.
Dickinson was 2 for 4 with three RBI, while Angus reached base twice and scored a pair of runs to lead the Keydets. Bass had a career-high four hits for East Carolina.