GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 10 East Carolina scored in its last four innings Saturday afternoon, cruising to an 8-1 series-clinching victory over George Mason at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (18-5) won their 10th-straight decision at home while handing the Patriots (11-11) a third consecutive loss. The ECU victory occurred in front of a crowd of 5,542 which marks the eighth-largest total in facility history.
Carter Spivey (2-1) picked up the win in a five-inning outing, allowing one earned run while striking out three hitters against two walks. Chad Gartlan (2-1) fell for the first time this campaign, surrendering four runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 frames of work. Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman continued to shine in relief, tossing three scoreless and hitless innings with two strikeouts to run his scoreless inning streak to 17.
Justin Wilcoxen, who stretched his current hitting streak to 10 games, went 2-for-2 with a run scored and two RBI while Ryan McCrystal and Alec Makarewicz both notched a home run. James Quinn-Irons and Reece Woody tallied a pair of hits apiece for the visitors.
McCrystal got the home faithful buzzing early in the contest, launching an 0-1 offering over the wall in the bottom of the first to stake East Carolina to an early 1-0 advantage. George Mason mustered up the tying run in its half of the second via a Connor Dykstra RBI single, but Cam Clonch made a nice defensive play at first for the third out to strand runners on the corners.
The game’s next tally did not occur until the bottom of the fifth, but it sparked a run of seven unanswered Pirate scores that spanned the remainder of the afternoon and early evening. With one away in the frame, Makarewicz turned on the first pitch he saw and drilled it onto the football practice fields in right to afford ECU a 2-1 lead.
Lunsford-Shenkman got the Pirates out of a huge jam in the top of the sixth, inheriting a two on, no-out situation, but as he has all season, worked out of trouble masterfully thanks to a pair of groundouts and a pop up on the infield. Wild pitches, hit batters and walks were the theme of the sixth inning for the Patriot pitching staff as East Carolina notched a pair of runs to pull ahead 4-1.
Wilcoxen and Ryley Johnson pushed the Purple and Gold even further in front in the seventh. Lane Hoover singled to lead off the inning before moving to second on a Luke Nowak sac bunt. Wilcoxen followed with an RBI double to center and Johnson sent him across home plate with a single through the right side to make it 6-1.
Hoover and Wilcoxen came through again in the eighth by driving in a run apiece, setting the stage for Landon Ginn’s first appearance of the season on the mound. The junior worked around a one-out single to retire the side and preserve the seven-run margin of victory.
- East Carolina improved to 15-1 at home in 2023.
- ECU racked up double-digit hits for the 15th time this season.
- The Pirates were 4-for-11 (.364) with runners in scoring position.
- East Carolina’s pitching staff allowed three earned runs or less for the sixth-straight game.
- ECU improved to 14-0 when hitting at least one home run.
- The Pirates won their sixth-straight weekend series to begin the campaign.
Up Next: Due to a threat of rain, East Carolina and George Mason wrap up the three-game set Sunday morning at 11.