Greenville, N.C. – Youngstown State sophomore pitcher Kevin McCulloh held East Carolina scoreless through six innings, but the Pirates got a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Penguins 1-0 on Saturday.
McCulloh allowed three hits and four walks while striking out seven in his third career start. Reliever Nic Manuppelli retired ECU in order in the eighth but did not record an out in the ninth.
Philip Clark walked to start the inning and stole second to get into scoring position. Jack Reinheimer reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners, and Tim Younger brought in the winning run with a single down the right field line.
'I can't say enough about the effort we got from Kevin today," head coach Rich Pasquale said. "He also made some good defensive plays, and we made some solid plays behind him. We took some positive steps forward today, but we can't be satisfied with that."
Four different players had hits for Youngstown State, which had runners in scoring position in the first, second and ninth innings. In the second, Jonathan Crist walked to start the inning and advanced on Greg Dissinger's sacrifice bunt. A bit of bad luck kept the Penguins from having a scoring chance as Padraic Williams hit a single off the field umpire that could have gone into the outfield. With Crist having to retreat to second, Armani Johnson struck out to end the inning.
In the ninth, Joe Iacobucci reached on a throwing error and Jeremy Banks followed with a single. They advanced on Crist's hard grounder up the middle that reliever Kevin Brandt was able to slow down for an out, and Chris Mitko struck out to end the threat.
East Carolina had just three hits in the first eight innings. McCulloh worked around a leadoff double in the second by getting an inning-ending double play. The Pirates had the bases loaded in the sixth, but McCulloh fanned Chase McDonald and got Clark to ground into a fielder's choice.
Youngstown State will play the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.