GREENVILLE, N.C. – Early offense and a spectacular relief effort out of junior RHP Danny Beal allowed No. 9 East Carolina to coast past Old Dominion 7-3 Tuesday night in a non-conference contest at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (25-8) recorded their fifth-straight victory while the Monarchs (23-9) were unable to rebound from a home weekend series loss to Southern Miss. ECU out-hit ODU 9-7 and never trailed.
Beal enjoyed quite the night, notching a personal-best five strikeouts in a career long five-inning outing while tallying his second save of the campaign in the process. Zach Root (3-1) turned in three scoreless frames with three strikeouts to earn his third win of the season. Landen Burch (2-1) was tagged with the loss after surrendering four runs on three hits in 2.0 innings of work.
Lane Hoover rapped out a season single game-high three hits, including his second home run of the campaign, adding three runs scored and two RBI to his ledger. Carter Cunningham also went yard during the evening as part of a 2-for-4 performance and scored two runs. No Monarch batter had more than a single hit.
East Carolina jumped on Burch right away as Hoover doubled to the gap in right center before Cunningham unloaded on a 1-2 offering and launched it well over the wall in right to afford the Pirates an early 2-0 advantage through one complete. Old Dominion attempted to respond in the top of the second with two outs, but Luke Nowak made an excellent running catch in left to rob Kenny Levari of extra bases and strand Alex Bouche at first.
The Purple and Gold extended the lead in the home half of the second. Justin Wilcoxen drew a one-out walk to turn the lineup over for Hoover who tomahawked one down the right field line and over the fence to make it a 4-0 affair.
ODU strung together a couple of hits and a walk to load the bases with one out in the top of the fourth. Jake Hunter was able to fan Robbie O’Neal looking, but Kyle Edwards dropped a two-run single into center to slice the ECU lead to 4-2. Unfazed, Hunter induced a fly ball to right to prevent further damage.
With Beal dealing zeros on the bump, the Pirates put the game away in the bottom of the seventh with a three spot. Hoover singled and Cunningham doubled to lead off before Josh Moylan shot a single through the left side to plate Hoover. Cunningham then scored with some heads-up base running on a groundout and Nowak laced a double to left field to send Moylan home and leave ECU with a 7-3 advantage. The Monarchs notched a consolation run in the top of the eighth via a Hunter Fitz-Gerald solo home run.
- East Carolina continued to defend the friendly confines, running its home record to a sparkling 21-2.
- The Pirates avenged a pair of 2022 losses to the Monarchs.
- ECU’s pitching staff struck out double-digit batters (13) for the 17th time this season.
- The Pirates improved to 10-0 when hitting at least two home runs in a game.
- Nowak started his sixth game of the campaign (first in left field).
Up Next: East Carolina plays host to Cincinnati this weekend for a three-game American Athletic Conference series at Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch for Friday’s opener is slated for 6 p.m. The Pirates (4-2 AAC) share first place in the league standings with Houston and South Florida.