WJTV News Channel 12 - Former Conley star picks up victory in Pirate debut

Former Conley star picks up victory in Pirate debut

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

East Carolina's Davis Kirkpatrick worked five solid innings and struck out five batters in his collegiate debut, while his offense tallied a season-high 14 hits in an 8-3 midweek win over Campbell Tuesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

 

Kirkpatrick (1-0), a Greenville, N.C. native, allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and after a rocky first inning, settled down to retire 12 of his last 15 batters over the next four frames. The right-hander closed out his Pirate debut by striking out four of his last five batters (all looking) before handing the ball off to his bullpen.

 

Offensively, eight of ECU's nine starters in the lineup collected at least one hit with five recording multiple hits including junior Ian Townsend, who was 3-for-5 with three RBI. Sophomore Travis Watkins tied his career-high with three RBI, while going 2-for-4 at the plate.

 

Campbell, who had won four of the last six meeting between the two instate schools, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Danny Pardo reached on an error, took second on Steven Leonard's sac bunt and scored on Kyle Leady's RBI single through the right side. After Elijah Trail was hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second, Will Albertson singled down the left field line plating Leady.

 

ECU responded with four runs in the bottom half of the frame taking a 4-2 lead and never looked back. Garrett Brooks (single), Drew Reynolds (single) and Zach Houchins (walk) loaded the bases for Townsend, who smoked two-RBI single to right center knotting the game at two-all. Ben Fultz followed by reaching on a fielding error at short allowing Houchins to score, and two batters later he crossed home on Watkins' RBI single back up the middle that ricocheted off the leg of starting pitcher Bobby Thorson.

 

Thorson (0-1) was saddled with the loss giving up eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits with a pair of walks in 3.2 innings. Reliever Ryan Koopman silenced the ECU bats scattering five hits over 4.1 shutout frames with six strikeouts.

 

The Pirates continued to score pushing across a run in each of the second and third stanzas behind RBI singles from Townsend and Kirk Morgan, which made it a 6-2 ball game.

 

Campbell got its last run of the night in the top of the fourth when Clayton Brown singled to center plating Matt Nadolski, who doubled down the right field line with one out.

 

Once again the Pirates responded with a two-spot in the bottom half of the frame, capping the scoring at 8-3. Watkins drove in both runs singling back up the middle with two out scoring Houchins and Fultz.

 

After Kirkpatrick struck out the side in the fifth, he turned the ball over to the bullpen where Nick Durazo (3.0 IP, 3 Ks), Evan Kruczynski (0.0 IP, BB) and Drew Reynolds (1.0 IP, K) threw up zeroes helping the Pirates snap a two-game skid against the Camels.

 

Joining Townsend and Watkins with multiple base knocks on the afternoon were Brooks, Reynolds and Bryce Harman all with two hits.

 

ECU will hit the road for the first time in 2014 when they travel north to Charlottesville, Va. to take on top-ranked Virginia in a three-game series. The weekend opener is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21 with a 3 p.m. (EST) first pitch.

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