PEARL, Miss. - East Carolina scored six runs in the ninth inning and cruised to a 10-3 win over UAB Saturday evening in its final game of the 2012 Conference USA Baseball Championships presented by Trustmark.
With the score tied at three, Corey Thompson scored on an Alex Luna wild pitch in the top of the eighth to give ECU a 4-3 lead. Thompson singled to right field, took second on a balk and moved to third on John Wooten’s sac bunt down the third base line before crossing home.
The Pirates would blow the game open with six runs on six hits, which included five consecutive base hits following Drew Reynolds one-out walk.
Freshman Jeff Hoffman (3-1) picked up the lone win for the Pirates in the C-USA Championships working seven strong innings allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Junior Andy Smithmyer recorded his first career save tossing two scoreless innings with four punch outs.
Sam Kelley suffered his first loss of the season allowing one run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings with two walks. Starter Ruben Tresgallo went 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits with four walks. Luna allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in two innings of work.
ECU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of RBI singles courtesy of Thompson and Zach Wright. Tim Younger started the frame with a walk then took second on Reynolds ground out to second. Thompson laced a single up the middle plating Younger for the first run of the game. Wooten followed with another single and was gunned down at second when Thompson took third. Wright reached on an infield single to short pushing across Thompson.
The Blazers plated a run in the bottom of the first pulling within one, 2-1. With the bases juiced, Harry Clark drew a walk that scored Ryan Prinzing, who walked with one out. John Frost pushed Prinzing over to second on a single and another single by Patrick Palmeiro loaded the bases with one out.
Chase McDonald’s fourth homer of the season gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead in the second frame. McDonald drilled a first pitch offering from Ruben Tresgallo to left-center for the fourth round-tripper of the C-USA Championships.
UAB knotted the game at three in the bottom of the sixth thanks to RBI singles by Palmeiro and Tyler Mims that scored pinch runner Ivan De Jesus from second and Ryan Ussery from third.
The Pirates will make the long trek back to Greenville following the game and will be tuned into the television on Monday afternoon to see if they receive an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Regionals.