Stephen Batts hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to pace No. 30 East Carolina to a 8-6 win over UCF in Conference USA play Friday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Trailing 3-1, Batts uncorked on a Jaager Good fast ball and took it to right field tying the game at four. Harrison Eldridge picked up his third hit of the game singling to right to start the inning. Ryan Wood followed with a walk before Ryan Tousley’s fly out to left. Batts’ extended his current hitting streak to 16 games with his homer, the fifth of the year. Jake Dean singled up the middle and advanced to second on Good wild pitch. Jamie Ray moved Dean over to third on his second single of the night and then Kyle Roller drove in Dean on a sac fly to center for the go ahead run.
Bailey Daniels (3-1) picked up the win for the Pirates (33-17, 11-7) after working 3 2/3 innings of relief allowing one hit, walking one and striking out four. Pirate starter T.J. Hose lasted 4 1/3 innings surrendering four runs (all earned) on nine hits with four walks and six punch-outs. Shane Mathews struck out the side in the ninth but allowed two runs on a Eric Kallstrom two-run shot.
Good dropped to 4-5 on the year for the Knights (24-27, 5-14) after going 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with one walk. Austin Hudson went three innings giving up three runs on three hits. Brian Brooks also saw action out of the pen going two-third’s of an inning.
The Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Tousley drove in Eldridge on a fielder’s choice. Eldridge led off the frame with a single through the left side then moved to third on Wood’s single to center before touching home.
UCF had a prime opportunity to score in the top of the second when Ryan Richardson and Kallstrom reached on back-to-back singles to start the inning. Hose fanned Brandon Romans and Chadd Hartman before giving Matt Horwath a free pass to load the bases. Dwayne Bailey stranded all three runners on his ground out to second base.
The Knights took a 2-1 lead in the third behind four hits and a Hose error. Tyson Auer led off with a double and advanced to third on Hose’s throwing error on a pick-off. Kik Vazquez drove in the tying run on a single down the left field line before Chris Duffy singled to left. With two-outs, Romans drew walk to load the bases and Hartman singled in the go ahead run to right field.
Vazquez put the Knights up 4-1 on his eighth homer of the season in the fourth. Bailey led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a Hose balk before crossing home.
Dean pushed the Pirates lead to two, 6-4, with a one-out single up the middle that scored Batts in the seventh. Batts drew a one-out walk then moved into scoring position with his ninth stolen base of the season.
ECU scored two runs in the eighth to increase its lead to 8-4 in the eighth. Corey Kemp drove in the first run with single through the left side plating Brandon Henderson, who pinch ran for Roller. Kemp scored on Tousley’s double down the right side to cap the scoring for the game.
Offensively the Pirates had 14 hits on the night with Eldridge (3), Wood (2) Dean (2), Ray (2) and Roller (2) each collecting multiple hits.
The two teams will play game two Saturday afternoon on Senior Day with a first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. (EDT).