GREENVILLE, N.C. – Trey Yesavage continued his stellar start to the season Friday night, tossing a career-high 7.1 scoreless innings to propel No. 10 East Carolina past Missouri State 3-0 in a non-conference series opener at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (14-4) handed the Bears (11-6) their first shutout loss since May 2, 2021 and registered their first shutout of an opponent since a 10-0 win over UCF back on April 15, 2022.
Yesavage (3-0) was absolutely dominant in producing his fourth quality start of the season, holding Missouri State’s powerful offense to just four hits while matching his career-high strikeout total of 11. Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman extended his scoreless inning streak to 12 innings in relief, throwing the final 1.2 frames and striking out three against no walks. Brandt Thompson took the loss, yielding a lone run on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Seven different ECU batters recorded a hit in the contest as Justin Wilcoxen delivered a pair of huge RBI in the eighth inning via a two-run bomb to center. Spencer Nivens tallied two hits to pace the visitors’ offensive efforts.
Nivens roped a double down the right field line with one out in the top of the first, but Yesavage fanned Taeg Gollert and Cody Kelly in succession to leave Nivens stranded. Ryley Johnson was the first Pirate to reach base in the game when he walked and stole second with one out in the home half of the second. However, a pop up to short for the third out kept things scoreless.
ECU broke through in the bottom of the fourth, grabbing a 1-0 advantage. Jacob Jenkins-Cowart lined a double to the gap in right center with one away and moved to third on a fielder’s choice before scoring on an infield single by Joey Berini.
Missouri State threatened in the sixth by loading the bases with one out. Unfazed, Yesavage got Zack Stewart to strike out swinging before Berini made a nice play on a grounder to short as the Pirates escaped trouble.
Wilcoxen afforded East Carolina some breathing room in the eighth. With two outs and Carter Cunningham on first following a sharp single to right center, Wilcoxen drilled the first pitch he saw over the wall between the scoreboard and the batter’s eye to extend the Pirate edge to 3-0.
Lunsford-Shenkman made quick work of the Bears in the top of the ninth, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts.
- Head Coach Cliff Godwin took sole possession of second place on the ECU coaching wins list with his 318th victory in the Purple and Gold.
- East Carolina improved to 11-1 at Clark-LeClair Stadium in 2023.
- Yesavage lowered his ERA to 1.48 and has 43 strikeouts to his credit against just six walks in 30.1 innings.
- The Pirate pitching staff recorded double-digit strikeouts for the fourth-straight game and 10th time this season.
- Jacob Starling reached base safely for the 26th-straight contest thanks to a one-out double in the bottom of the fifth.
Up Next: The Pirates and Bears resume the series Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.