LUBBOCK, Texas —- The first victory in a Super Regional for East Carolina University was a great picture of a team’s character, the Pirates were resilient and determine against Texas Tech University.
In front of a full house at Rip Griffin Park, the Pirates defeated the Red Raiders 8-6, giving the Pirates the all important lead in the series 1-0.
Pirates catcher Travis Watkins night at the plate might have been his best night in his career. Watkins went 3-of-4 at the plate and that included his career seventh grand slam home run and then he went and hit his second home run of the night, a two-run shot that sailed over the left field fence, he finished the night with six RBI.
East Carolina University baseball coach Cliff Godwin called on Evan Kruczynski to start the game out on top of the mound for the Pirates.
“Just real happy for our guys, to come into the most hostile environment we’ve played in all season, to play poised,” Godwin said. “I thought we held our poise when we could have–when they were coming back, really kind of let things get out of hand, two good teams going at it tonight and we’re just happy that we won.”
Kruczynski worked 5.1 innings giving up three runs, six hits, walking one and striking out six. He was a cool customer against the Red Raiders with his style of being deliberate.
Texas Tech baseball coach Tim Tadlock said he thought that the Pirates approach toward offense to the game was one of the best that his team has seen all season.
“Congratulation to East Carolina and coach Godwin and his staff. I thought that they did a great job,” Tadlock said. “Probably as good as offensive approach as we’ve seen in a long time. I thought Kruczynski was outstanding, thought he mixed really well.”
Godwin said, “ that is Evan just being Evan!”
The fifth inning the Pirates scored five runs and opened up the ball game for the Pirates but the game got a different feel in the seventh when the Red Raiders scored three runs against relief pitcher Sam Lainer.
“They’re the best offense we’ve faced this year,” Godwin said.
Texas Tech left fielder Tyler Neslony provided the drama in the seventh when he hit a three-run home run to put the pressure on the Pirates bull pen
Godwin went to the bull pen and called on Matt Bridges to the mound and put out the fire.
Bridges took full advantage of the situation and perhaps made a serious statement for next season. The freshman pitcher used a curve ball, fast ball but a nasty slider that made the Red Raiders at the plate taking a double-look before walking back to the dugout for a seat.
Bridges faced eight batters and striking out six working 2.2 innings earning his second save of the season.
“It was definitely the best he’s pitched all year in the toughest environment,” Godwin said about Bridges. “You’re talking about a freshman that has never pitched in front of 5,000 people before.”
The first win is in the books and now the Pirates are going to be staring at history if they can win one more game and continue the summer road trip to Omaha, Nebraska and the 2016 NCAA College World Series.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation.
I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.