CONWAY, S.C. - Jake Smith and Matt Bentley each hit three-run home runs to help propel third seed Alabama to a 16-3 win over second seed East Carolina in the night cap of the Conway Regional at Charles Watson Stadium.
With the win the Tide (35-26) advances to the winner's bracket and will face top seed Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. on Saturday night, while ECU (40-20) will face-off against Columbia in the elimination game at 1 p.m.
Austin Hyatt improved to 5-4 on the year after going 8.0 innings where he allowed three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and four walks. Josh Copeland worked the ninth allowing a hit and a strikeout.
Seth Maness dropped to 9-2 on the season after working the shortest outing of his young Pirate career working 2.2 innings allowing eight runs (all earned) on nine hits with a walk before being lifted for Brad Mincey. Mincey worked 0.2 innings allowing three runs on four hits with one walk. Matt Laney made his ninth appearance of the season throwing a career-high 4.2 innings. He allowed one run on four hits with three punch outs. Bailey Daniels 15th appearance out of the bull pen surrendering four runs on four hits in one inning.
ECU wasted little time in getting on the board when Jamie Ray smacked his fifth home run of the season in the bottom first giving the Pirates 1-0 lead.
Smith's three-run bomb in the second gave Alabama a 3-1 advantage. Bentley doubled to right-center to start the frame, which was followed by a Kent Matthes single putting runners on the corners. Tyler Odle reached on a fielder's choice that saw Drew Schieber gun Bentley out at the plate. Smith, the next Tide batter, then took a Maness pitch deep to left field clearing the bases.
Bentley's 11th home run of the season highlighted a five-run third pushing Alabama's lead to 8-1. Ross Wilson led off with a walk then touched home on Alex Avila's single up the middle. Brandon May followed with another single and came home with Avila on Bentley's homer to left field. Josh Rutledge singled up the middle scoring Smith for the final run of the inning.
Alabama pushed three runs across in the fourth to take a 11-1 lead.
Brandon Henderson smacked his 10th home run of the season in the fourth inning to left field making the score 11-2.
Kyle Roller's one-out double to left-center plated Henderson from first cutting into the Tide's lead, 11-3.
The Tided added to its lead in the eighth and ninth innings on a solo home run by Mathhes and a pair of two-run homers from Rob Wilson and Wes Henderson to cap the Tide run total.