GREENVILLE, N.C. - Sophomore Kevin Brandt tossed 5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, facing one batter over the minimum, while Kyle Roller hit his third home run of the weekend to help No. 23 East Carolina to an opening weekend sweep of UCF at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Roller continued his hot hitting on the day going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI and finished the weekend series batting an impressive .692 with three jacks and 10 RBI. He recorded at least two hits and drove in at least two runs in all three games, including a career-best 5-for-6 performance from the plate with two home runs in the opening game of the series.
Devin Harris broke a three-all tie in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to left field plating the go ahead run and the Pirates (16-4, 3-0 C-USA) never looked back.
Brandt improved to 4-0 on the year out of the bullpen allowing just one hit and striking out five. The Fuquay Varina, N.C. native entered the game in the third frame with the bases loaded and two outs and forced Chris Duffy to ground out to third holding off a potential UCF (7-15, 0-3 C-USA) rally. Starter Mike Anderson was tagged for three runs (all earned) on five hits with a walk and two punch outs in just 2 2/3 inning of work. Senior Bailey Daniels shut the door in the ninth allowing just one hit to preserve the win.
D.J. Hicks (1-2) suffered the loss for the Knights giving up three runs (one earned) on three hits in four innings. Bryan Brown got the start lasting 2 2/3 innings where he gave up three runs (al earned) on three hits with two walks and a strikeout. Justin Weiss (0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER) and Evan Stobbs (1.0 IP, 1 H) closed the game on the mound.
UCF drew first blood in the series finale taking a 3-0 in the top of the first inning thanks to a two-run home run by Brandon Romans, his second of the weekend. Colin Arnold doubled to right field to start the inning then took third on a fielding error by Devin Harris. Josh Siebenaler pushed across Arnold from third on a groundout for the games first run. Shane Brown extended his hit streak 14 games with an infield single before Romans cranked his eighth homer of the season.
The Pirates cut the Knights lead to two, 3-1, when Dustin Harrington drove in Roller on a fielder’s choice. Roller reached after being plunked by a Brown pitch then took second on Brandon Henderson’s single through the right side. Roller landed on third when Drew Schieber reached on a fielder’s choice before coming home.
Stephen Batts knotted the game at three with his fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot to left field in the third.
ECU would break the game open in the seventh when they plated five runs on four hits to take a 9-3 three lead. Roller high-lighted the frame with his seventh homer of the season and 30th of his career, a three-run shot to right field that landed on the Cliff Moore Football Practice Complex fields.
Ryan Wood’s lone hit of the game came in the eighth inning with one out that pushed across Jared Avchen and extending ECU’s lead to seven, 10-3.
The Pirates will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Buies Creek, N.C. to square off against Campbell. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
• Head Coach Billy Godwin picked up win 131 as a Pirate and career win number 392.
• ECU outscored the Knights 49-7 on the weekend belting six home runs and recording 18 doubles.
• The Pirates scored seven runs on the day with two outs pushing its season total to 95 runs. Forty-two percent of ECU’s runs have come with two outs on the board (95-of-228).
• The Pirates reached double-digits in hits (10) for the 18th time this season and scored 10-or more runs for the ninth time when they plated 10 run in the series finale with UCF.
• On the perfect week, ECU scored 90 runs on 98 hits with 14 home runs and 26 doubles while batting .450 (98-for-218) at the dish.
• Kyle Roller batted .591 (13-for-22) on the week with four home runs, 15 RBI, 11 runs scored and was hit four times. He moved into a tie for ninth place on the school’s all-time home run list with 30.
• Career Multi-Hit Games: Kyle Roller (36), Brandon Henderson (51) and Drew Schieber (33).
• Career Multi-RBI Games: Stephen Batts (37) and Kyle Roller (30).
• Currently all nine starters in the Pirates batting order are hitting .365 or better. Four are above .412 and six are above.390. Stephen Batts is hitting at a .444 clip to lead the squad.