GREENVILLE, N.C. - No. 27 East Carolina (22-8, 6-2) pounded out 15 hits and rode the strong pitching of junior Tyler Joyner on its way to a 16-1 victory over Houston (11-18, 1-7) Friday night in Conference USA action at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Joyner (5-0) scattered six hits and gave up one run over seven innings while striking out five. The contest was called after seven frames in observance of C-USA's 15-run mercy rule.
The Pirates scored multiple runs in five the seven stanzas, including a five-run first after Houston had taken the lead 1-0 in the first.
The Cougars executed a suicide squeeze play in the opening frame to grab the early advantage as Chase Jensen's bunt plated Landon Appling, who led off the inning with a single up the middle.
The Pirates quickly responded with an offensive explosion in the bottom half of the inning. Tim Younger (2-for-4, two runs) led off with a single to left and eventually moved to second on Corey Thompson's fielder's choice ground ball. John Wooten (4-for-4, four runs, three RBI) tied the score at one with a run-scoring single to left. Jay Cannon drew a one-out walk and Zach Wright drove in another run with a sacrifice fly. Chase McDonald (1-for-3, four RBI) capped the first inning scoring with a three-run home run over the wall in left, his second of the season.
ECU tacked on a trio of runs in the third to extend its lead to 8-1. Wooten led off the frame with a solo shot and Wright added a towering two-run blast after Cannon had reached on a walk.
Houston starter Jordan Lewis (3-50 was chased after Wright's home run and yielded eight runs (all earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out a pair in two innings of work.
Cannon added a two-run single to center field in the fourth, pushing the Pirate advantage to 10-1. Drew Reynolds, Thompson and Wooten reached on singles to load the bases, setting up Cannon's base knock.
Houston reliever Chase Wellbrock lasted two innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and striking out three before being replaced on the mound by Logan Piper, who pitched a scoreless fourth.
Wright (2-for-3, five RBI) added a two-run single in the sixth and McDonald added a sacrifice fly to give East Carolina a 13-1 lead.
The Pirates plated a trio of runs in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game.
Joyner, the reigning Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week, was dominant after giving up the early run. He needed just 90 pitches to tame the Cougars and lowered his season ERA to 2.47.
The series will resume Saturday morning at 10 a.m. (EST) as junior Jharel Cotton (5-0, 2.89 ERA) faces Houston's Austin Pruitt (2-2, 2.12 ERA).