GREENVILLE, N.C. — Every East Carolina starter reached base in a 15-2 blowout win over NC State on Tuesday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The victory marked the fourth straight midweek win over an in-state rival — but none more important than taking down the No. 8 Wolfpack.
The No. 20 Pirates (24-12, 5-4 AAC) used three huge innings in the second, fourth and sixth to put the game out of reach for NC State (26-11, 10-6 ACC). With a combined three home runs, 12 RBI and six runs by Zack Mozingo, Turner Brown and Bryce Harman, ECU’s hot hitting propeled the Pirates to their seventh win at home in the last 10 games.
“It’s nice to get a win over a huge in-state rival,” Brown said. “It helps the RPI, it helps everything. It’s just a huge win. … We didn’t like the feeling against UNC, so we weren’t going to let another in-state rival beat us.”
ECU opened the game with one run in the first as Parker Lamm advanced home on a wild pitch by Johnny Piedmonte. The Pirates chased Piedmonte in the second, who was on the hook for three earned runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings after an RBI single by Turner Brown and sac bunt by Charlie Yorgen.
The Pirates’ five-run fourth was started by a Mozingo two-out grand slam. Chris Williams was nearly off the hook with two outs, but an error by Joe Dunand allowed Mozingo to break the game wide open.
Another error by Dunand in the fourth allowed Travis Watkins to reach second after the throw to first base went out of play. Harman made the Pack pay with an RBI double laced down the right-field line to give the Pirates an 8-0 lead after the fourth.
“That was my first [grand slam], so I finally got that out of the way,” Mozingo said with a smile. “I just knew it was big time because they just made an error. I needed to capitalize on the error they made, so I was just sitting curveball and put a good swing on it.”
While ECU’s pitching staff scattered six hits and gave up just two runs, NC State’s bullpen was a revolving door. Piedmonte’s early exit triggered a long night for the Pack that saw eight total pitchers toe the rubber.
The Pirates hitters peppered the Pack’s pen with 14 hits, but four errors by State infielders were key in the rout. On the night, State pitchers allowed nine earned runs of the 15 total with a shaky defense behind them.
After a disappointing 17-4 showing in a loss at home against North Carolina earlier this season, the blowout win in front of 4,734 fans was a welcomed sight for ECU coach Cliff Godwin.
“I’m just happy that we were able to play well in front of a packed house,” Godwin explained. “And just show Pirate Nation we can play in front of a packed house unlike UNC. … That’s what you sign up for when you come to ECU — to play in front of big crowds.
“I tell them, ‘Hey look, if you don’t like pressure, you shouldn’t play with East Carolina. You shouldn’t put the purple and gold on.”
Despite the loss, NC State has a chance to get right against NC A&T, which dropped to 9-31 on the season on Tuesday. ECU travels to High Point on Wednesday before hosting UConn in Greenville over the weekend.
The Pack will be looking for revenge next Tuesday night as the Pirates travel to Raleigh. After getting hosed by ECU on the road, a home win would be vindication for the Pack. A loss would mean the first two-game sweep for ECU since 2009 — giving the Pirates bragging rights for the next year.
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