GREENVILLE, N.C. – Backstopped by a career-long outing from senior RHP Garrett Saylor, No. 10 East Carolina continued its winning ways at home with a 6-5 victory over William & Mary Wednesday evening at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (13-4) scored all they needed in the middle innings to down a Tribe (9-9) squad that put up 34 runs on Norfolk State a day ago. ECU and William & Mary rapped out 12 hits apiece, but the Pirate pitching staff racked up 14 strikeouts against just three walks. The teams also combined to leave 21 runners on base.
Saylor (1-0) collected his first victory of the season on the mound, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with no walks and a campaign-high seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Jaden Winter notched his first career save, limiting the visitors to just one hit while striking out a personal-best five hitters in the final two frames. Tom Mayer took the loss, yielding three runs on five hits with two walks and a lone strikeout in three innings of work.
Jacob Jenkins-Cowart enjoyed a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI – including a two-run home run in the fifth. Ryan McCrystal, Josh Moylan and Lane Hoover also pounded out a pair of hits each while McCrystal added two RBI.
East Carolina produced the first real offensive chance by either side in the first three innings when Ryley Johnson led off the second frame with a single and advanced to third on a groundout and wild pitch, but a Nate Knowles strikeout kept things scoreless.
William & Mary was first on the scoreboard, plating a trio of runs in the top of the fourth. Max Winters and Nick Lottchea singled consecutively to put runners on the corners with one away. Tank Yaghoubi followed with a bunt single that scored Winters before Cole Ragone delivered a two-out, two-run single to leave the Tribe ahead 3-0.
The Pirates quickly responded in the home half of the fourth, stringing hits together to knot the score at three. Moylan shot a double down the right field line to lead things off while McCrystal kept the line moving with his own two-bagger to right to drive in Moylan and cut the deficit to two. McCrystal moved to third on a groundout before scoring on a Jenkins-Cowart single to make it 3-2. Hoover then tied things up with an RBI single that allowed Jenkins-Cowart to cross the plate.
East Carolina took the lead for good in the fifth as Moylan walked, McCrystal singled and Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice to score Moylan. Jenkins-Cowart then unloaded on a 1-0 offering and launched it over the wall in right center for a 6-3 Pirate advantage.
The Tribe tightened the margin to 6-5 with a run in the sixth and seventh innings, setting the stage for Winter’s heroics. The visitors loaded the bases with two outs via a walk, single and hit by pitch and Winters worked a full count, but Winter reared back and unleashed a 92-mph high heater to get the Winters swinging and preserve the lead. Winter retired the side in order in the ninth.
- East Carolina improved to 10-1 at Clark-LeClair Stadium in 2023.
- The Pirate pitching staff recorded double-digit strikeouts for the third-straight game and ninth time this season.
- ECU has notched double-digit his in four consecutive contests (10th time this campaign).
- Moylan extended his hitting streak to 10 games while Starling reached base safely for the 25th-straight outing.
- Winter has struck out 10 batters and has allowed just two hits in 5.2 scoreless innings this season.
Up Next: East Carolina entertains Missouri Valley Conference outfit Missouri State in a three-game series starting Friday, March 17, at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.