Alec Burleson collected a game-high three hits which included his second home run of the season, while Nick Barber stole two bases including home to lift No. 9 ECU to a 5-3 win over Elon Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win, the Pirates improve to 6-3 on the year while the Phoenix drop to 5-3.
ECU scored three runs on three hits in the first inning taking an early 3-0 lead. Bryant Packard reached on a bunt single, took second on Brady Lloyd’s walk and scored when Burleson reached on an infield single coupled with an errant throw by Jack Roberts at second base. Jake Washer followed with a single to left field plating Lloyd and two batters later, Rider Giles’ sac bunt down the first base line scored Burleson.
Elon climbed back into the contest pushing across two runs in the top of the second making it a 3-2 ball game. Ty Adcock and Matt Oldham laced consecutive singles before Tyler Cranston cleared the bases with a double down the left field line.
Barber single-handedly manufactured the Pirates fourth run of the night in the second extending the lead to two, 4-2. With one away, he doubled down the right field line then promptly stole second base. After Packard struck out, Barber darted home on a 0-1 count to Lloyd sliding under Oldham’s tag at the plate. It marked the first time since 2012 that a Pirate stole home in a contest (Ben Fultz at Old Dominion).
Burleson’s second home run of the season, a solo shot to right field, increased ECU’s lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning. Elon would add a late run in the eighth on a solo shot from Adcock.
Gavin Williams (1-0) earned his first career victory allowing a pair of runs (both earned) on four hits with five walks and six strikeouts over five frames. Giles notched his first career save with a perfect ninth inning. Trey Benton gave up a pair of hits and struck out two in two frames, while Sam Lanier allowed a run (earned) on one hit in his one inning of relief work.
Jared Wetherbee (0-2) took the loss surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts over six innings. Kyle Greenler walked two and struck out three in 1.2 innings, while Adcock faced one batter recording a strikeout.
Burleson led the Pirates going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Giles and Washer each drove in a run, while Barber, Lloyd and Packard scored for the Pirates. Adcock and Oldham each had a pair of hits for Elon on the night.
The Pirates will return to action on Friday, March 1 when they play host to the 16th Annual LeClair Classic welcoming in Utah, Wright State and Western Carolina. First pitch of the weekend is set for 12 Noon (ET) between Wright State and Western Carolina, while ECU gets things going at 4:30 p.m. against Utah.