Brett Mabry notched his first win of the season and Drew Reynolds recorded his 26th career save helping East Carolina (5-5) to a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh (4-4) in Game Four of the Keith LeClair Classic Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Following a stellar pitching performance from Jeff Hoffman and Ryan Williams on Friday night, Reid Love, Mabry and Reynolds held the Panthers to a combined two hits on the afternoon allowing two unearned runs with seven total strikeouts. The trio of hurlers retired the side in order in six of nine innings allowing runners to reach second base five times, scoring twice (error, passed ball).
Mabry (1-0), who is 5-2 in his career with the Pirates, worked 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen with two punch-outs. Starter Reid Love surrendered an unearned run in the first and fifth frames in his 4.1 innings of work. At one point he retired 10-straight from the end of the first to the fifth.
Making just his second appearance of the season on the bump, Reynolds worked a perfect ninth striking out the side on 16 pitches for his second save of the year and 26th of his career, which tied Seth Simmons (2008-11) in the Pirate career annuals.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth frame ECU scored a pair of runs of Pitt starter Joseph Harvey for a 2-0 advantage. Reynolds, who reached base three times on the day, started the stanza with a single through the right side. Zach Houchins followed with a base knock up the middle and both runners advanced 90 feet on a Harvey passed ball. With one out, Ben Fultz grounded out to second scoring Reynolds and moving Houchins over to third before Luke Lowery dropped down an RBI bunt single easily plating Houchins.
Harvey (0-1) lasted 4.2 innings giving up three runs (all earned) on seven hits before passing the ball to the Panther bullpen. Renan Rodriguez faced six batters surrendering a run on two hits with a walk and Hobie Harris tossed 2.2 scoreless frames with three punch-outs.
For the 10th-straight time this season, the Pirates fell behind early when Dylan Wolsonovich scored on a Reynolds throwing error for a 1-0 lead. Wolsonovich and Casey Roche drew back-to-back one out walks before Boo Vazquez reached on a fielder's choice. During the play, Roche was forced out at second on Vazquez' grounder to ECU shortstop Kirk Morgan, who flipped the ball to Reynolds covering the bag. Reynolds tried to catch Wolsonovich making a wide turn at third towards home and misfired sending the ball into the Pirate dugout. Wolsonovich was awarded home and Vazquez took second base before Love retired Jordan Frabasilio looking.
Pitt knotted the game at two-all in the fifth thanks to an ECU passed ball. A.J. Lardo led off the stanza with a single through the left side, took second on Matt Johnson's walk before moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on the passed ball. With one out and runners on first and second, ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin made the move to the pen bringing in Mabry, who forced a ground out to third and recorded his lone punch-out to get out of the jam.
ECU responded in the bottom of the fifth on Ian Townsend's sac fly putting ECU up for good, 3-2. Morgan led off with a single to right center and landed on third following a wild pitch and consecutive singles by Reynolds and Houchins. With the bases juiced, Townsend sent a long fly ball to left field pushing across Morgan.
The Pirates tacked on another run in the sixth when Garrett Brooks singled through the left side plating Dylan Brown capping the scoring on the day.
Offensively, ECU collected 10 hits (all singles) with Houchins, Lowery and Reynolds each posting two-hit performances. Brooks, Fultz, Lowery and Townsend each drove in a run and Brooks extended his streak of reaching base safely to nine games.
ECU will close out the 11th Annual LeClair Classic Sunday afternoon when they take on Ohio State at 2 p.m. (EST). Both teams enter the final game of the weekend with 2-0 records.
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