MEMPHIS, Tenn. - No. 24 East Carolina (25-10-1, 8-3-1) scored six runs in the sixth inning and held off a late charge by Memphis (16-20, 6-6) to take the rubber match and recorded its third-straight Conference USA series win Sunday afternoon at FedExPark, 14-7.
Leading 6-2 heading to the sixth frame, ECU sent 11 batters to the plate - with the first eight reaching base via hit or walk – taking a 12-2 advantage. John Wooten’s three-run blast highlighted the frame and gave him a career-best five RBI. Philip Clark, Timothy Younger, Drew Reynolds (RBI) and Corey Thompson (RBI) had consecutive singles before Wooten’s seventh homer of the season. Jay Cannon followed with a walk, Zach Wright singled and Bryan Bass walked before Clark’s one-out sac fly plated Cannon for the final run of the inning.
Jharel (6-0) Cotton picked up his sixth win of the season working six solid innings allowing five runs (all earned) on six hits with six punch outs and two walks. Redshirt sophomore Tanner Merritt recorded his seventh save of the season working the final three innings allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits.
Memphis starter Chase Joiner (2-4) suffered the loss after lasting just 4 1/3 innings allowing six runs (all earned) on eight his with three walks and a punch out. The Tigers used five hurlers in relief that were touched for eight runs on nine hits.
ECU drew first blood scoring a run on Wooten’s bases loaded sac fly to center for a 1-0 advantage. The Pirates drew three consecutive walks to start the frame before Wooten lifted a first pitch offering to right-center scoring senior Younger.
T.J. Rich’s two-run shot to right center put Memphis up 2-0 in the second frame. Jacob Wilson drew a one-out walk and came around to score on Rich’s second homer of the season, a wind-blown shot that took just seconds to get out of the ball park.
RBI singles by Jack Reinheimer and Younger put ECU back on top 3-2 in the fourth inning. Wright doubled to start the frame then took third on Bass’ line out to center. Reinheimer followed with a single to left center pushing across Wright. After Clark flew out to center for the second out of the stanza, Reinheimer stole second and came around to score on Younger’s base knock to left center.
Wright’s third home run of the season highlighted a three-run fifth frame that extended ECU’s lead to 6-2. Thompson and Wooten roped back-to-back doubles to start the inning and Wright cleared the bases with a long wind-driven shot down the left field line, the 33rd of his career.
Cannon’s two-out RBI double in the seventh scored and bases loaded walk in the ninth accounted for ECU’s final two runs.
Memphis scored three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh on a pair of ECU errors to make the game respectable at 13-7.
Offensively the Pirates pounded out 17 hits with five players collecting two or more base knocks. Wooten tied his career-high going 4-for-5 at the plate, while Thompson and Wright each added three base knocks. Reynolds and Younger each collected two hits.
The Pirates will return to action Tuesday, Apr. 17 when they play host to instate rival UNC Wilmington at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EST).