Updated: Jan 2
The Purple – Gold World Series marked the end of ECU baseball’s fall season, and the team ended it with a bang.
Written by Ashleigh Cash
Clark-LeClair Stadium came alive this past weekend, as the Purple – Gold World Series brought life to an otherwise quiet offseason. The Gold squad, managed by senior Carter Spivey took games one and two, each with a score of 1-0. Game three came down to run differential; and, boy, what a game. The Purple squad, managed by senior Garrett Saylor, saw its offense come to life on Sunday. After being down 2-0 at the end of the 3rd, Purple saw an explosion of offense, racking up hit after hit – ultimately leading to a 9-6 comeback victory thanks to a 6 run, no out bottom of the 7th. Purple would win the series due to run differentials.
Defense Takes Over
Solid pitching and defense proved to be the name of the game on Friday and Saturday. Sophomores Jake Hunter and Trey Yesavage pitched a combined no-hitter for Gold in game one. Together they tallied seven strikeouts and were only one walk away from a perfect game. Purple was also solid, holding a loaded Gold team to only four hits and one run, which came via a sacrifice fly from freshman Cam Burgess to score Josh Moylan. In game two, Purple was held to two hits, while Gold had four. The sole run in that game came courtesy of Josh Moylan, who hit a grounder to second base that allowed sophomore Jacob Jenkins-Cowart to score.
Going into the 4th inning of Sunday’s game, it looked to fans that Gold would sweep the series, coming out on top in three low-scoring games. Purple had yet to score, with only one hit, while Gold had three runs on seven hits. Little did we know how hot Purple was about to get.
The bottom of the 4th opened with back-to-back doubles from juniors Justin Wilcoxen and Alec Makarewicz, putting Purple on the board for the first time all weekend. Makarewicz would later come in to score, putting Purple within one. They would tack on another run in the 6th inning with a solo home run from Wilcoxen – the lone home run of the series. The real comeback, however, came in the bottom of the 7th.
Flipping the Script
Purple was trailing 6-3 after Gold scored two runs on an error, a single, and back-to-back doubles from catcher Ryan McCrystal and first baseman Josh Moylan in the top of the inning. It was the last chance for Saylor and his squad. The inning started off strong with three consecutive hits from Connor Rasmussen, Ryley Johnson, and Miles Curley, bringing the score to 6-4. In the next at-bat, junior UNCW transfer Cam Murphy was nailed in the side of the helmet by a pitch to load the bases for freshman Nick Delisi. He delivered a three-run triple down the right field line, and suddenly Purple had the lead for the first time in the series. His triple chased sophomore pitcher Erik Ritchie out of the game, and it would later prove to be the turning point.
Junior Danny Beal came in to pitch with a runner on third, no outs, and a score of 7-6. Since they were playing for run differential, Purple needed to win by three runs. Gold technically hadn’t lost yet – and Beal’s job was to keep it that way. Unfortunately for him, junior Carter Cunningham greeted him with a double, bringing in another. Junior Cam Clonch was then intentionally walked, putting runners on first and second for Wilcoxen, who hit his third extra-base hit of the game – an RBI double. Two runners cross the plate, but Purple only needed one – Carter Cunningham, who celebrated his 22nd birthday with a massive comeback win. Purple walked it off, with no outs on the board. Eight straight batters managed to get on base, scoring six runs on six hits and two walks.
We saw key players on both sides this weekend. For the Gold team, junior Josh Moylan was phenomenal throughout the series, going 5 for 9 with 2 doubles, 4 RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored while only striking out once. Sophomore starter Jake Hunter pitched a perfect five innings in game one, tallying 5 Ks and earning the win. For the Purple team, catcher Nick Delisi went 3 for 6 in the series with a triple, 3 RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored. Junior starter Josh Grosz pitched a solid outing, going 5 innings and giving up 2 walks, 3 hits, and an earned run, striking out three. Catcher Justin Wilcoxen was excellent in game 3, going 3 for 4 with 3 extra-base hits – two doubles and a home run, scoring 2 runs and batting in 3.
Although this marks the end of ECU’s fall season, their 2023 schedule is expected to be released anytime in the coming weeks. So far, we know that they’ll play Tulane April 28th-30th and Campbell on February 22nd and May 17th.