TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - No. 29 East Carolina (11-3) scored four runs with two outs in the second inning and added a pair in the last two frames to claim the 2012 DRASH Alabama Baseball Classic Title defeating No. 20 Louisville (10-4) Sunday afternoon 9-4 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Trailing by one in the top of the second, ECU responded with four two-out runs taking a 4-1 lead and never looked back. Wright got the inning going when he reached on a fielding error by Zak Wasserman at first. Philip Clark followed with a single down the left field line ad Younger loaded the bases with another single, this time an infield base hit to third. Ben Fultz stepped to the plate with the bases juiced and delivered a two-RBI single up the middle plating Wright and Clark and putting runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored Younger to push ECU’s lead to 3-1 and Jack Reinheimer singled down the right field line scoring Fultz to cap the frame.
Jharel Cotton (3-0) picked up his third win of the season despite struggling on the day. The right-hander went five innings allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits with five walks and five punch outs. Freshman Jeff Hoffman was spectacular in his outing tossing four no-hit frames with a strikeout recording his first collegiate save.
Louisville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a ground out off the bat of Mason Snyder. With the bases loaded and one out, Snyder poked at a 0-1 offering from Cotton and Zach Wright fired to first recording the second out of the frame, but Adam Engel scored easily as nobody was covering home plate.
A pair of leadoff extra base hits in the third and fourth pulled the Cardinals within two, 5-3. Nick Ratajczak led off with a triple to right center and scored on Gardner’s infield single to short in the third. In the fourth, Zach Lucas led off with a double to right center, took third on a balk and scored on a wild pitch for their third run of the game.
ECU added a run in the fourth when Younger scored on Bryan Bass’ two-out double down the left field line, which gave ECU a 5-2 lead. Younger reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and then came around to score on Bass’ first extra base hit of the season.
Another run in the bottom of the fifth pulled the Cardinals within one, 5-4. Ratajczak drew an opening frame walk, took second on Ijames walk, advanced to third on Snyder’s fielders choice before crossing home on Wasserman’s infield single.
The Pirates put the game out of reach in the later frames scoring a pair in the eighth and ninth innings to take a commanding 9-4 lead. Sophomore Drew Reynolds picked a great time to hit his first home run leading off the eighth inning with a solo blast down the right field. The Pirates scored another run in the frame when Reinheimer reached on an error scoring Wright for a three run advantage, 7-4.
Louisville starter Travis Tingle (2-1) suffered the loss allowing five runs (one earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts. Chad Green was touched for a pair of runs in three innings of work, while Cody Ege recorded one out before turning the game over to Derek Self, who allowed four runs (two earned) in 1 2/3 innings.
In the ninth John Wooten scored on a balk and Jay Cannon touched home on Wright’s suicide squeeze bunt single down the third base line capping the game at 9-4.
The Pirates will be back in action on Tuesday, Mar. 13 when they play host to former Colonial Athletic Association foe Virginia Commonwealth at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. (EST).