HOUSTON, Texas - East Carolina used a six-run fourth inning to complete the sweep of Houston Sunday afternoon at Cougar Field 9-2 in Conference USA action.
With the win the Pirates (32-15, 10-7) move into third place in the standings behind Rice and a half game behind Memphis. Houston falls to 25-22 and 10-8 in league play.
ECU blew up the scoreboard in the top of the fourth when they put up a six spot to take an early 6-0. Stephen Batts laced a one-out down the right field line. Kyle Roller followed by reaching on a Touchton throwing error which advanced Batts to third. Corey Kemp drove in the first runs of the game with a double down the right field line scoring Batts and Roller for a 2-0 advantage.
Jake Dean singled to right-center advancing Kemp to third before Jamie Ray's double down the left field line that plated Kemp. After a Cougar pitching change saw Hancock come in for Touchton, Drew Schieber to a 1-0 pitch to right field for a three-run shot padding the Pirates lead to 6-0.
Josh Dowdy improved to 3-1 on the year after allowing two runs on three hits over five innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Jason Neitz relieved Dowdy in the sixth and worked three scoreless innings surrendering one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Mike Flye came in to close out the game working the ninth inning giving up two hits.
John Touchton fell to 4-5 after lasting just 3 1/3 innings where he allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk before giving way to Shea Hancock in the fourth. Hancock went 1 1/3 inning allowing one run on four hits and one walk. Barry Laird (2.1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Bryan Tully (2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K) were also used out of the pen.
Houston answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame cutting into the lead, 6-2. Ryan Lormand led off the frame with a double to right-center before Felix Fanaselle walk. Jimmy Cesario moved the runners up to second and third on a ground out to second and Dustin Kinsbury cleared the bases with a single to left capping the scoring.
Batts extended ECU's lead to 7-2 in the sixth when he ground into a double play that scored Ryan Wood. Wood advanced to second to lead off the inning when he struck out and moved to second on a Hancock wild pitch before touching home.
The Pirates added runs in the eighth and ninth frames to push the lead to 9-2. Tousley singled home Harrison Eldridge from second putting in the eighth and Schieber drove in Ray in the ninth.
Offensively the Pirates pounded out 15 hits with Tousley leading the way going 4-for-5 with one RBI. Ray was 3-or-4 with two runs scored and Schieber was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.
ECU will return home next week as they play five games at Clark-LeClair Stadium with the first match-up against The Citadel coming on Tuesday at 6 p.m. (EDT), which will be followed by North Carolina (Wednesday) and a three-game series against UCF.