ECU’s freshmen were born in 1994. That was the year that OJ Simpson fled the police in his now-infamous white bronco and the year that MLB players went on strike to cancel the ’94 season.
Also in 1994, the ECU baseball team started its season 0-3. That would be something that wouldn’t happen again until this Tuesday night, when the Pirates fell to the Campbell Camels, 6-4.
“We want to win more than anything,” said ECU’s Drew Reynolds. “And anytime you don’t win it strikes you in the heart.”
The Pirates found themselves down 2-0 to start the fifth inning, after Ben McQuown’s RBI single scored Michael Delucia for the Camels in the third and Elijah Trail hit a solo homer in the fourth. Campbell’s lead extended to 3-0 on an RBI single by Brent Graham.
But ECU responded by loading the bases with its first three batters at the bottom of the fifth, allowing Bryan Bass to hit an RBI single to put the Pirates on the board. The fifth inning finished with ECU trailing 3-2, after a sac fly by Chase McDonald scored Travis Watkins.
That would be the closest the Pirates ever came to taking the lead though as Campbell loaded the bases the next inning to extend its lead to 6-2 by the middle of the sixth, highlighted by a double from the Camel’s Nick Ray that scored two runners.
ECU scored one run in the seventh (a Jay Cannon groundout that scored Jack Reinheimer) and one in the eighth (a double by Brown that scored Reynolds) to pull within two, 6-4, but were held scoreless in the ninth to seal the victory for Campbell.
Reinheimer finished 4-for-5 at the plate with one run scored and Reynolds went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Brown (2-4, one run and an RBI) and Watkins (2-3 with a walk, and one run) were both impressive in the loss.
“It’s disappointing because I thought we came out and played hard,” said ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin. “But we didn’t do enough. That’s the bottom line.”
Getting the start for the Pirates on the mound was RHP Andy Smithmyer. Smithmyer pitched for five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out five batters. He was relieved by freshman Brett Mabry, who only lasted a third of an inning after giving up three hits to the first three batters he faced.
Senior LHP Jake Harris followed Mabry and played well for the remaining three and two thirds innings. Harris gave up three hits with no earned runs (though runners did score, but the runs were charged to Mabry) and three strikeouts.
The third straight loss for the Pirates to start the season marked only the second time ECU has started 0-3 since 1966. But with the Keith LeClair Classic coming up, the team is only focused on the games ahead.
“Slow starts are slow starts and it would be a great story if we turned this thing around,” said Godwin. “And we are going to do that.”