GREENVILLE, N.C. – Jake Kuchmaner struck out seven over six innings, while Garrett Saylor tossed three scoreless relief frames with five additional strikeouts leading East Carolina to a 7-2 win over Saint Mary’s College Friday at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 8-6 on the season, while the Gaels fall to 12-2.
ECU broke a scoreless tie in the third inning pushing across four runs for a 4-0 lead. Ryder Giles got things going depositing a 1-0 fastball from Ryan Taurek over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season and third of his career. Bryson Worrell followed with a double down the right-field line and Lane Hoover’s RBI single to right plated Worrell. Hoover swiped second and took third on the errant throw by Marc Goulart and then crossed home on Jacob Jenkins-Cowart’s sac fly to center. Alec Makarewicz scored the final run in the frame after drawing a walk, then took second on Carter Cunningham’s free pass before scoring on a sac fly from second on Zach Agnos’ deep ball to right-center.
Kuchmaner (1-1) picked up the win in his second quality start of the season allowing two runs (both earned) on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. The left-hander retired the first eight batters he faced, which included four strikeouts in the first two frames and the side in the opening stanza. Saylor notched his first save of the year (second career) surrendering just one hit with five punchouts in his three innings of relief.
Taurek (1-1) took the loss after allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits with a walk and one strikeout in 2.1 innings. Preston Howey was touched for a run (earned) on one hit with four walks in 3.2 innings, while Jack Snook gave up two runs on one hit in 1.1 innings. Chase Dabbs completed the game recording the final two outs in the home half of the eighth in his first appearance of the season.
Trailing 4-0 going to the fourth, the Gaels responded with a run cutting the lead to three, 4-1. Christopher Campos laced a one-out double down the left-field line, which was followed by a Nathan Chong walk and hit by pitch during Nick Mistone’s at-bat. Kyle Velazquez’ sac fly to right field scored Campos for Saint Mary’s first run of the contest.
Hoover’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth extended ECU’s lead to 5-1. With one away, Giles and Worrell drew consecutive walks before Hoover slapped a single through the right side pushing across Giles.
Mistone’s RBI base knock in the sixth pulled the Gaels back within three, 5-2. Christian Almanza singled through the left side which was followed by Campos’ shot through the right side. With one away, Mistone singled through the left side scoring Almanza.
ECU added two runs in the eight, capping the scoring at 7-2. Alec Makarewicz belted his team-leading third home run on a shot to right field and Carter Cunningham scored on Josh Moylan’s RBI ground out to second.
Hoover led ECU with two hits and plated a pair of runs extending his current hit streak to five games. Five other Pirates tallied a hit including Agnos and Worrell who pushed their hit streaks to seven games.
The two teams will be back on the diamond Saturday, March 12 for game two of the weekend series. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. (EST) and will be streamed on ESPN+.