With 2012 quickly coming to a close, now is a great time to take a look back at the top moments of ECU athletics over the past year. And when talking about ECU’s greatest moments, it’s impossible to ignore our No.3 selection: ECU’s victory over No. 11 NC State on the baseball diamond.
On March 20, 2012, the ECU baseball team took down its in-state rival NC State Wolfpack, 6-5, in a tense nail-biter of a game at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The game started with NC State taking a 3-0 lead after two innings. By the bottom of the fourth, ECU had rallied to a 4-3 advantage. But it was after the fifth inning, when the Wolfpack tied the game at four, that made this a game to be remembered.
With runners at first and third with one out in the sixth inning, ECU’s Phillip Clark drove home Tim Younger to take a 5-4 lead. The Pirates would increase their lead to 6-4 after NC State made a pitching change, and a wild pitch by new-pitcher Danny Healey scored ECU’s Jack Reinheimer.
Even with a two-run lead the tension in the stadium was at an all-time high. 4,714 fans packed Clark-LeClair Stadium to see the Pirates take down their nationally ranked rivals. The fans had seen the Wolfpack fire out to a quick lead, and then watched ECU respond. Now that the Pirates had the lead, Pirate Nation expected them to hold on for the win.
The game stretched on to the ninth inning with ECU still nursing its two-run lead. Pitcher Drew Reynolds came into close for the Pirates and quickly registered NC State’s first out. But the Wolfpack’s next two batters were put on base, giving NC State the scoring run on first.
A force out at second gave ECU its second out but Younger, the second baseman, tried to turn a double play and the throw was mishandled. This allowed NC State’s Trea Turner to score, cutting the Pirates lead to one with a single out remaining.
Reynolds responded well, gaining the final out off of a fly ball to deep left field. With that, the Pirates (15-4) sent No.11 NC State home with just its fourth loss of the season. Following the win, ECU was ranked No. 25 in the nation.
ECU pitcher Andy Smithmyer was credited with the win after allowing just one hit during his three innings pitched. Reynolds earned his Conference USA leading seventh save in the victory over the Wolfpack.
This win marks everything a top moment should be for Pirate fans. It was a win over a heated rival. It was a win against a nationally ranked team. It was a close game that left you full of emotion as a fan. But above all, it was a game played at home, that allowed fans to look forward to all the memorable times that lay ahead for Pirate baseball in Clark-LeClair Stadium.