Smithmeyer, East Carolina shut down Elon, 4-1
Pirates sweep season series from Phoenix
Andy Smithmeyer has experienced tremendous success out of the East Carolina bullpen this season.
On Tuesday, the first-year Pirate took on a starting role for the first time, but the results were the same.
The junior righty worked 6.2 shutout innings and No. 30 East Carolina used a four-run sixth to capture a 4-1 victory over visiting Elon at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
For the game’s first five frames, there were nothing but zeros as Smithmeyer and Elon southpaw Andrew MacDonald engaged in a pitcher’s duel.
ECU (32-16-1) had a runner on second with less than two outs in each of the first four innings, but was unable to push anything across.
Smithmeyer plunked Phoenix three-hole hitter Alex Swim to open the fourth and he moved into scoring position with one out via a wild pitch. However, the Pirates’ starter struck out Joey Tomko and Casey Jones to end the inning.
Smithmeyer proceeded to retire nine straight and the game remained scoreless headed to the bottom of the sixth.
After producing just three hits through five against MacDonald, the Pirates received a leadoff single from Drew Reynolds in the sixth and had runners on first and second with one out after a single by John Wooten.
With Reynolds and Wooten having advanced on a wild pitch, Elon coach Mike Kennedy elected to intentionally walk Jack Reinheimer to load the bases with two outs and brought in right-handed reliever John Antonelli to pitch to pinch-hitter Nick Thompson.
Antonelli’s first 11 pitches were balls and he walked all three batters he faced to give East Carolina a 3-0 cushion.
Jordan Darnell replaced Antonelli and got Tim Younger to ground out to end the inning, but not before throwing a wild pitch that allowed pinch runner Bryan Bass to cross the plate and extend the lead to 4-0.
With two down in the seventh and his pitch count over 80, Smithmeyer began to struggle with his command and walked the bases loaded after not issuing walk to that point. However, Tanner Merritt managed to come in and strike out pinch hitter Michael Elefante to escape the threat.
Elon avoided the shutout when Quinn Bower produced an rbi single with two down in the ninth.
Smithmeyer, who allowed just four hits, improved to 4-2 while Tanner Merritt notched his eighth save after working 2.1 innings in relief.
Drew Reynolds finished 2-for-4 and was the only Pirate to post a multi-hit game.
Quinn Bower went 2-for-3 with an rbi to lead the Phoenix.
Andrew MacDonald, who allowed just three runs on five hits in 5.2 innings, suffered the loss for Elon and is now 4-3.
The Pirates will be in action again tonight when No. 8 North Carolina visits Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch with the Tar Heels is scheduled for 6 p.m.