GREENVILLE, N.C. - UNC-Wilmington scored six runs in the final two innings and walked out town with a 15-13 win over No. 23 East Carolina Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Seahawks improve to 14-10 and snap the Pirates (17-9) eight-game winning streak.
Trailing 12-9 heading into the top of the eighth, UNCW pushed across five runs on three hits to take a 15-12 lead and stopped a pair of Pirate rallies in the eighth with bases loaded and ninth with the tying run on second and no outs. The Pirates would plate one run in the ninth when Austin Homan scored on a passed ball.
UNCW got a pair of singles with one out in the eighth to start the dramatic comeback. Robbie Monday reached on an infield hit. Pinch hitter Matt Holt followed with a single up the middle before Kevin Brandt loaded the bases after walking Hunter Ridge. Brandt fanned Alex Hill on three pitches, the second time Hill had struck out with the bases loaded, before issuing a walk to Michael Bass that scored Monday.
East Carolina closer Seth Simmons (1-1) entered the game with two-run lead looking to close the door for his seventh save of the season. But the junior from Lewisville didn’t fare any better giving up back-to-back walks to Michael Rooney and Thomas Pope, which knotted the game at 12. Grayson Evans continued the inning with a two-RBI single through the right side scoring Bass and Rooney giving the Seahawks a 14-12 lead. Freshman lefty Jake Harris was called getting Cody Stanley to ground out to second.
In the bottom of the eighth, ECU threatened by loading the bases with one out and walked away empty-handed. John Wooten was plunked by a Bryan Booth (2-1) pitch to the side then Corey Thompson laced a double down the left field line putting runners at second and third with one away. UNCW walked Kyle Roller to load the bases and after a pitching change Stephen Harrold punched out both Zach Wright and Devin Harris looking to end the inning.
UNCW upped its lead in the ninth to 15-12 when Ridge flew out to center scoring Cam Cockman from third, who pinch ran for Monday after he drew and opening frame walk. Holt pushed Cockman over to third on an infield bunt single and took second on a throwing error by Jake Harris.
Heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates reeled off three consecutive singles off the bats of Homan, Cam Freeman and Philip Clark. After a passed ball plated Homan and moved the other runners into scoring position, Harrold fanned Wooten and Whitehead before getting Thompson to pop up to second for his second save of the season.
The Seahawks jumped out to an early 8-1 lead scoring two runs in the first, one in the second and five in the third before the Pirates could figure out what was going on. A RBI single by Stanley and a sac fly by Monday gave UNCW a 2-0 lead after one.
Ridge scored the lone run in the second on an error by Thompson at shortstop that put Bass on second and Rooney on first with one out. Brad Mincey settled down in the frame getting Rhett Miller to ground out and fanning Evans.
What looked to be the lethal blow to the Pirates was a five-run third by the Seahawks that happened on five hits. Three consecutive hits by Stanley (single), Monday (double) and Shambley (single) chased Mincey from the game for Patrick Somers, who gave up another single to Ridge that scored Monday for a 5-1 advantage and runners on first and second. Bass moved the runners up on a sac bunt and Rooney cleared the bases with a single through the left side. A pair of wild pitches scored Rooney to cap the stanza at 8-1.
The Pirates clawed back into the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third thanks to a single to left by Devin Harris and a sac fly b
A three run fourth for ECU brought the contest within two runs, 8-6. Trent Whitehead scorched a RBI single to left before UNCE pitcher Andrew Harnage walked Harris to score Chris Gosik. The final run of the frame came when Homan was hit by a pitch scoring Whitehead.
ECU took its only lead of the game in the fifth at 10-8 on Harris’ two-RBI double to left center that scored Roller and Wright. Whitehead recorded his second RBI on a double to right that pushed across Gosik and Wright knotted the game at eight with a single through the left side scoring Whitehead.
ECU starter Joseph Hughes lasted one inning allowing two runs on one hit before being relieved for Mincey (1.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER). The Pirates used eight pitchers in all including seeing action from weekend starters Brandt and Seth Maness.
Daniel Cooper worked 2 1/3 innings for UNCW allowing three runs on three hits before he was lifted for Steven Davis. The Seahawks used seven hurlers on the night.
The Pirates will be back in action on Friday when they start Conference USA play hosting Tulane for a three-game series. Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. with the newly hired men’s basketball coach Jeff Lebo throwing out the first pitch.