East Carolina baseball stands tall with a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic national team. Runs were few and far between, but the Pirates had an impressive exhibition showing.
With the regular season approaching, this exhibition gave the Pirates an opportunity to play in a game situation and assess their preseason progress.
“It’s a good way to start,” said head coach Billy Godwin. “I think competition exposes some things. There are a lot of things we’ve got to work on. When you’ve got 15 new players, that’s what you’re doing with them: you’re trying to find out what those guys are good at and what they need to get better at.”
Among those new faces is Ian Townsend, who, in the bottom of the eighth inning, hit the game’s lone homerun. He also notched an RBI in two at bats.
“It was my first homerun here, so it feels good,” said Townsend. “It was my first game here at ECU, so I was going to enjoy it.”
The Pirates opened the scoring in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Garrett Brooks started his impressive afternoon by being walked by Czech pitcher Jan Novak. Brooks, who was 1-3 in stealing attempts last season, stole second and third bases. He ended up running home following a wild pitch, giving ECU an early 1-0 lead.
The Czech Republic responded with two hits in the top of the second inning, but were unable to knot the game. With a full count and teammates on first and second base, Petr Zyma hit three foul balls before driving one to first base for the third out.
Davis Kirkpatrick relieved Reid Love and took the mound for the Pirates at the beginning of the fourth inning. He walked three of the first four batters he faced. With the bases loaded, Drew Reynolds made an unbelievable diving catch and tagged third base while lying on the ground for the double play.
After stalling the Czech Republic with that double play, Reynolds took the plate first for the Pirates at the bottom of the fourth inning. He drove it to center for a base hit, but the Czechs cut the inning short with a double play of their own.
After being scoreless since Brooks’ run in the first inning, ECU managed to notch another run in the bottom of the sixth. Joshua Lovick doubled directly between the left and center fielders. Brooks followed up with a double of his own to send Lovick home and earn himself an RBI.
ECU managed to hold the Czech Republic off the board until the eighth inning. Jakub Hajtmar got a base hit and advanced to second base when Evan Kruczynski walked Petr Cech. Hajtmar ended up scoring off an error that took place when the ball was dropped at first base.
Townsend responded for the Pirates with a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth, giving ECU a 3-1 lead that would hold up as the final score.
Drew Reynolds took the mound in the ninth inning. Tomas Polansky batted first for the Czechs and was thrown out at first. Reynolds then fanned Jiri Marek. The Czechs managed to get two players on base and, in a situation where the Czechs could at least tie the game, Reynolds managed to strike out Petr Zyma for the third and final out of the game.
David Lucroy was awarded the win. In two innings pitched, Lucroy struck out two players and only allowed two hits. Godwin rotated in six pitchers throughout the game.