MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Sophomore Jack Reinheimer collected a game-high three hits, drove in a pair and scored two runs to help No. 24 East Carolina (24-9-1, 7-2-1) to a series opening 5-2 win over Memphis (15-19, 5-5) Friday night at FedEx Park.
The Pirates, who have not lost a Conference USA game since Mar. 24 – a span of eight games, scored all five of their runs with two outs, while Memphis stranded five runners on third.
ECU took a 3-2 lead in the sixth frame when junior John Wooten crossed home on Keaton Aldridge passed ball. Corey Thompson started the frame with a single to left and took second when Wooten reached on an error by shortstop Ethan Gross. After a sac bunt fielder’s choice back to the pitcher, Dan Langfield, forced Thompson out a third, Zach Wright reached on another fielder’s choice putting runners on the corners and setting up the would-be game winning run.
Drew Reynolds’ RBI single down the right field line in the seventh scored Reinheimer and Timothy Younger’s double down the right field line plated Reinheimer again, this time in the ninth to secure ECU’s seventh win in league play.
Senior Kevin Brandt (5-2) picked up the win as he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts. Redshirt sophomore Tanner Merritt, who made his team-leading 17th appearance, notched his sixth save after tossing 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Langfield (5-4) was solid in a loosing effort striking out eight in seven innings of work. The right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and walked just one. Patrick Bailey allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings on three hits, while Erik Schoenrock recorded the final out in the top of the ninth.
Memphis’ bats were hot early with back-to-back hits by Ethan Gross and Ford Wilson. Gross placed a single to center and Ford Wilson reached on a bunt to third base. After a fly out gave Brandt the first out of the day, Eli Hynes hit a high chopper to first and Wilson was out at second on the fielder's choice. With runners on the corners and one out, the Tigers couldn't drive the run in as Jacob Wilson grounded out to first.
The Pirates put two runners on with one out in the top of the second and took an early 2-0 lead on Reinheimer’s extra base hit. Jay Cannon singled to left and Zach Wright was hit by a pitch with one out. After a Langfield strikeout, Reinheimer stepped into the box and ripped a 2-1 offering down the left field line clearing the bases and staking ECU to a two-run lead.
Memphis answered in the bottom of the second pulling within one, 2-1. Derrick Thomas reached on a throwing error by Thompson at third, eventually landing on second base. Tucker Tubbs followed with a single through the left side pushing across Thomas.
Gross knotted the game at two scoring when Eli Hynes grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Gross reached on an infield single to third and took second on Ford Wilson’s fielder’s choice sac bunt. Adam McClain loaded the bases with a walk setting up the game-tying run.
The Pirates, who had just three hits after six innings, out-hit the Tigers 8-7 on the night. Cannon joined Reinheimer with multiple hits going 2-for-4 at the dish. Reynolds, Thompson and Younger each added base knocks to account for ECU’s eight total hits.
ECU and Memphis will be back in action Saturday afternoon for game two with a 3 p.m. (EST) first pitch scheduled.