BIRMINGHAM, ALA. - David Forbes collected a career-high three hits and drove in three runs as East Carolina defeated UAB 10-2 on the final day on Conference USA play Saturday afternoon at Young Memorial Field securing the No. 2 seed in the C-USA Tournament.
Josh Dowdy picked up his fourth win of the season after working six innings where he allowed two runs (both earned) on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Josh Ruhlman started the seventh and faced on batter recording a strikeout before giving way to Shane Mathews. Mathews worked the final 2 2/3 innings allowing one hit with four strikeouts.
Shay Craword (4-4) suffered the loss for the Blazers giving up six runs (all earned) on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Kasey Croft relieved Crawford in the third closing out the inning by allowing one hit and one walk. James Oliver (1 IP, 1 H, 2 K), Dustin Colburn (1 IP, 1 K), Paul Jones (1 IP, 1 H 1 K), Kyle Roberson (1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R), Brandon Flaherty (2/3 IP 1 H) and Rodney Wodson (1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K) also saw action out of the bullpen.
Once again in the series the Pirates had a prime opportunity to put runs on the board in the first inning. Harrison Eldridge was hit by a Crawford pitch on the hands then moved to second on Ryan Wood’s infield single. But Crawford struck out Kyle Roller with a high fast ball then got Stephen Batts to fly to the right fielder Brint Hardy, who doubled up Wood at first to end the inning.
David Forbes sparked a three-run second inning when he cranked his fourth home run of the season a two-run shot to left putting ECU up 3-0. Ryan Tousley led off the inning with a bunt single to third and then advanced to third on a throwing error by Ryne Lovdahl and touched home on a Crawford wild pitch. With two outs, Jake Dean reached on an infield single and crossed home on Forbes home run on a 3-1 offering.
UAB had a prime chance to plate its first run in the second when Hardy laced a triple off the wall in left center with one out. But Dowdy held the Blazers in check getting Tyler Rollin and Levi Patmon to fly out to close the frame.
The Pirates pushed across three runs making the score 6-0 in the top of the fourth. Tousley led off the frame with a single to right, his second on of the day then moved to third on Jamie Ray’s single up the middle. Drew Schieber drove in the first run on a sac fly that scored Tousley. Ray stole second base and Dean walked forcing a pitching change that saw Croft come in for Crawford. Forbes ripped an RBI single to left scoring Ray from second. Eldridge followed with a walk to load the bases before Wood’s sac fly to left field closing the frame.
Martin collected his second triple of the game to highlight a two-run Blazer sixth pulling within four, 6-2. Lovdahl led off with a single up the middle and came home on Martin’s triple. Martin scored the second run when he touched home on Rollin’s ground out to second base.
ECU pushed three runs across in the eighth and one in the ninth to take a commanding 10-2 lead.
Offensively the Pirates pounded out 16 hits on the day with Tousley (3), Forbes (3), Eldridge (3) and Ray (2) each collecting multiple hits. Batts extended his hit streak to 22 games, the third longest in school history passing Jamie Paige, while Roller (7 games) and Ray (8 games) each extended their hit streaks.
The Pirates will be back in action on Wednesday, May 23 when they square off against No. 7 Tulane in the opening round of the 2007 Conference USA Championships.