Junior left-hander Jeff Ostrander blanked the Bulldogs (7-3) for 7.1 innings and allowed just two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. He improved to 1-1 as the Pirated moved their record to 7-4.
“East Carolina is a good team, they won 50 games last year, and you better bring you’re A-game when you play them, and we didn’t,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “Even though we lost, I feel a lot better about our team then I did after Saturday’s game. I saw some good things and we’re getting closer. We’re going to improve offensively because I’m confident in our team, we’re just struggling against left-handers and need to make some more adjustments.”
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the first after a two-out error by third baseman Adam McDaniel. Billy Richardson led off with an infield hit, stole second and took third on Mike Grace’s grounder to third that McDaniel misplayed. Jake Smith followed and drew a walk on four pitches from Georgia starter Brooks Brown to load the bases. It was only the second walk allowed by Brown on the year who came into the game with a 0.00 Earned Run Average. He had not allowed a run through the first 9.2 innings pitched this year. However, that changed when first baseman Adam Witter lined a 3-1 offering to right for a two-run single.
The Pirates exploded for five runs on three hits including a pair of home runs to build a 7-0 advantage in the fourth. Left fielder Drew Costanzo connected for a two-run shot off Brown and then third baseman Mark Minicozzi followed that with a solo shot to key the outburst. It would be Brown’s final inning as he lasted four innings and surrendered seven runs, five earned, on six hits in four innings.
Georgia missed out on scoring opportunities in the first, fourth and fifth innings. Sophomore Brandon Masters (2-for-4) got the first Bulldog hit when he had a one-out double in the first. He was stranded at third when Josh Morris struck out. In the fourth, Morris reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and was stranded after a groundout by Jason Jacobs. In the fifth, Derek Smith reached on a one-out walk, went to third when McDaniel lifted a double down the right field line. However, Ostrander struck out Jonathan Wyatt and got Kyle Keen to pop out to end the threat.
The Bulldogs avoided a shutout with one out in the eighth when sophomore Joey Side delivered a pinch-hit solo home run of Pirate reliever Kevin Rhodes. After pinch-hitter Justin Niefer grounded out, Masters and Josh Smith notched singles to bring up Morris but he struck out for the third time on the day.
“Joey (Side) stayed prepared and showed it when he came up as a pinch-hitter and hit the home run,”said Perno. “We sat him down early because of the base-running mistakes, but he did a good job off the bench today and responded well.”
Georgia got solid relief pitching from juniors Rip Warren and Mitchell Boggs as they combined to blank the Pirates the rest of the way. Warren struck out three in 2.1 innings while Boggs had a pair of strikeouts in the final 1.2 innings.
Georgia returns to action Tuesday in Athens when it plays host to Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m.