GREENVILLE, N.C. - Kyle Roller drove in a career-high six runs going 3-for-4 with a home run as No. 30 East Carolina finished off the series sweep of UCF Sunday afternoon 13-8 inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the win, the Pirates move to 35-17 overall and 13-7 in Conference USA action while the Knights drop to 24-29 and 5-16 in league action.
Josh Ruhlman (5-1) picked up the win in relief lasting four innings allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts. Shane Mathews collected his league leading 12th save after working the ninth frame with one strikeout. ECU starter Josh Dowdy went three innings giving up five run (three earned) on nine hits and Bailey Daniels worked one inning allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts. Both Daniels and Rulhman entered the game with bases loaded and no outs and did not surrender a run.
Eric English fell to 2-4 on the season after allowing eight runs on seven hit in just 2 1/3 innings. Mitch Herold worked 1 1/3 innings giving up five runs (four earned) on three hits and Brian Brooks worked the final 4 1/3 innings allowing one hit and fanning four.
UCF took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on Chris Duffy’s fielder’s choice that plated Kiko Vazquez. Vazquez laced a two-out double down the left field line then trotted home on Jamie Ray’s fielding error.
In the second inning, UCF added another run making it 2-0. Eric Kallstrom reached on another Pirate fielding error then moved to third on Kyle Mills sac bunt before touching home on a passed ball.
ECU took the lead in the bottom of the second when Roller hit his seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to right field, giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Stephen Batts led off the frame with a single up the middle and extended his current hitting streak to 18-games, the fourth longest in school history. Jake Dean reached on a fielder’s choice which was followed by a Ray walk setting up the blast from Roller.
Duffy’s two-run shot highlighted a 3-run fourth inning for the Knights that saw them take the lead 5-3. Vazquez singled to left with one out then Duffy sent a 3-1 offering deep to right. Brandon Romans followed with an infield single then went to third on Ryan Richardson’s double to left center. Romans crossed home on Kallstrom’s ground out to short to close the frame.
ECU pounded out six hits, five in a row, in the third inning and regained the lead 8-5 after pushing across five runs. Harrison Eldridge led off with a single then Tousley drew a walk before Batts singled to center field scoring Eldridge on Tyson Auer’s fielding error. Dean drove in Tousley with his only hit of the game, a single to right, before he and Batts executed a double-steal. Ray followed with an RBI single through the left side scoring Batts. Roller picked up his fourth RBI of the game with another single to right and then Corey Kemp singled home Ray for the final run of the inning.
The Pirates added five more runs in the bottom of the fourth to push their lead to 13-5. With one out, Tousley reached first after being hit by Herold pitch. He promptly stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Herold. Batts followed with a walk and stole second putting a pair of runners in scoring position. Dean reached base for the third time in the game with a walk loading the bases for Ray, who reached on a fielder’s choice with Tousley being out at the plate. Roller continued his hot hitting driving in two more runs on a single to left. Ray and Roller completed a double steal and Kemp singled them both in with a shot to left field. Broc Sutton drove in his fourth run of the year with a double off the wall to right field scoring Kemp.
Kallstrom pulled the Knights within six, 13-7, after hitting a two-run shot to left field off Daniels in the fifth.
Vazquez lifted his ninth home run of the year in the sixth with a solo shot to left field off Ruhlman making the score 13-8.
ECU collected 11 hits or more for the third straight game with Roller leading the way with three. Batts and Kemp also had multiple hits each collecting two.
The Pirates will close out their regular season home schedule on Tuesday, Amy 15 when the hose Elon at 7 p.m. (EDT) before closing out the season on the road at UAB (May 17-19).
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