Late East Carolina Comeback Spoils Milwaukee Upset Bid
Feb. 18, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Junior Cale Tassi of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team allowed just one run in 6.0 innings but it was not enough after East Carolina University plated five unanswered runs to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 6-3 come-from-behind victory Saturday at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Tassi left with a 3-1 lead after six strong innings for the Panthers (0-3), but a four-run seventh inning turned the tide for the No. 22 Pirates (3-0) and helped them complete the weekend sweep and avoid the upset.
"I thought Cale did a great job in that game," Milwaukee head coach Scott Doffek said. "Unfortunately, we just weren't able to hang on to that lead. But, like I told the team, that (ECU) is one of the best teams in the country and we schedule these games with the idea that it is an opportunity to improve. So now we just have to go back to work starting next weekend."
Scoreless until the fourth inning, the Panthers struck first and ended up with a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Sam Koenig opened the scoring with an RBI on an infield single. Back-to-back infield groundouts also produced runs and gave Tassi a 3-0 advantage.
He faced just one over the minimum through the first three innings and got some nice help from his defense when needed. In the fourth, the ECU leadoff batter reached on an error and a single put two on with no outs. Tassi then induced a pop up to short and a nice 6-4-3 double play that ended the threat.
The Pirates recorded a leadoff single in the sixth as well, but another 6-4-3 twin-killing emptied the bases before freshman Michael Porcaro robbed ECU of a basehit with a diving play in the hole.
East Carolina forged ahead in the seventh when Tim Younger tied the game on a single and Corey Thompson gave it a 5-3 lead on a two-out double down the line. UWM never threatened the rest of the way, going 1-2-3 in both the eighth and the ninth.
"We walked that leadoff batter and that is never a good start," Doffek said. "But we made some adjustments in the batter's box offensively and had more productive outs. But really, there was no excuse for the energy level, especially in the first game."
Junior Will Fadness led the Milwaukee offense with a 3-for-4 day. Younger finished a perfect 3-for-3.
A seven-run sixth inning broke open game one, with the Pirates going on to take the 16-1 decision. Milwaukee found itself in a 3-0 hole after two innings, but got in the scoring column in the top of the third on an RBI-double off the bat of sophomore Derek Peake.
Jhral Cotton (1-0) put together a quality outing for ECU, giving up just a run on three hits in 6.0 innings, striking out four and walking none.
In the fourth, the Panthers had a great opportunity to have a big inning after getting leadoff singles from junior Jonathan Capasso and senior Paul Hoenecke. But Cotton got a pair of pop-ups and a ground ball to get out of it.
ECU then tacked on with single runs via the long ball in the fourth and fifth innings to lead, 5-1, after five complete before breaking it open.
Up next, Milwaukee opens a four-game series in the Metrodome at Minnesota, with game one set for a first pitch of 6:35 p.m. Feb. 24.