Pirates walk-off Rhode Island on opening night

ECU Pirates


GREENVILLE, N.C. – For the second time in his career, Christian Smallwood came through in extra innings for No. 13 East Carolina with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th lifting the Pirates to a 3-2 win over Rhode Island Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. 

With one out and Lane Hoover standing on third base, Smallwood’s high chopper over the Rams’ third baseman Tino Salgado plated Hoover giving the Pirates their second-straight season opening win via a walk-off. Hoover, who was 1-for-2 on the night, reached base to start the frame after being hit by a Jon Morrison pitch on the elbow and then took second on a wild pitch. Bryson Worrell laid down a sac bunt moving Hoover 90-feet away from a win. 

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Cam Colmore (1-0) got the win working 1.2 scoreless frames with a strikeout in relief. Starter Tyler Smith went 5.1 innings where he allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Four hurlers bridged the gap to Colmore in Matt Bridges (0.1 IP, 1 H), A.J. Wilson (0.1 IP), C.J. Mayhue (2.0 IP, 2 Hs, 4 Ks) and Garrett Saylor (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB). 

Morrison (0-1) took the loss giving up the winning run in the 10th inning. Starter Ryan Twitchell went five innings allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with a pair of walks and one strikeout. Nick Robinson held the Pirates in check with four scoreless frames of relief with five strikeouts and a walk before passing the ball to Morrison. 

ECU broke a scoreless tie plating a pair of runs in the fifth inning for a 2-0 advantage. Hoover’s two-out triple to right field, the Pirates second three-base hit of the contest, was followed by an infield single by Worrell. After a Worrell swiped second and took third on an errant throw by Jordan Laske behind the plate, Thomas Francisco’s base knock up the middle scored another. 

The Rams answered with two runs in the top of the sixth knotting the game at two-all. Salgado singled through the left side and raced home on Austin White’s double down the left field line. After Bridges took over for Smith and got a strikeout, Josh Brodeur singled through the right side scoring White from second. 

ECU and Rhode Island will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 20 with a 2 p.m. (EDT).

Post-Game Notes: 

  • Christian Smallwood collected his second career walk-off hit with the other coming on March 9, 2019 against Marist in the 12th frame … 
  • The walk-off win was the second-straight in a season opener for the Pirates, other was Feb. 14, 2021 against William & Mary 2-1 in the 11th inning on Caddell’s RBI single … 
  • Alec Makarewicz (LF) and Josh Moylan (DH) both made their first collegiate starts … 
  • ECU’s first two hits of the season were triples … Last time the Pirates had two triples in a game was March 10, 2019 (Turner Brown had the pair) … 
  • Lane Hoover (triple in fifth) and Connor Norby (single in sixth) both extended their hit streaks to eight games dating back to last season … 

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