GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina scored eight unanswered runs behind Dylan Brown’s three-hit, two-RBI performance and Reid Love’s 7.2 innings of relief topping UNC Wilmington 8-5 Wednesday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Trailing 4-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth, ECU (22-15) sent nine batters to the plate scoring five runs for a 5-4 lead and never looked back. With runners on first and second with one out, Charlie Yorgen singled to right field pushing across Ian Townsend for the Pirates first run of the evening. Garrett Brooks followed with a walk giving the Pirates runners at the corners before Kirk Morgan’s sac fly to right plated Luke Lowery. Dylan Brown cleared the bases with a double to right center, his second hit of the contest, before Drew Reynolds brought him home on a base knock to left.
Love picked up the win in relief allowing one run on two hits in 7.2 innings of work with three strikeouts. The left-hander, who struggled at Old Dominion last weekend, retired 23 of 26 batters he faced evening his record to 3-3 on the season. Starter Davis Kirkpatrick went one inning surrendering four runs (three earned) on three hits with a punch out, while Reynolds notched his fifth save of the season and 29th of his career facing one batter in the ninth.
Ricky Holden (2-1) took the loss in relief for the Seahawks on a staff outing after being touched for three runs (all earned) on four hits in two innings out of the bullpen. Starter Ryan Foster worked three scoreless frames extending his shutout streak to 12.2 innings before handing the ball to Teddy Cillis, who gave up four runs (all earned) on two hits with a pair of walks in one-third of an inning. A trio of hurlers in Will Shepley (1.2 IP, R), Jared Gesell (0.2 IP) and Christian MacDonald (0.1 IP) closed the game working the final 2.2 innings allowing one run.
UNCW (17-19) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, which was highlighted by Ryan LaGrange’s fourth home run of the year. Casey Golden reached after being hit by a Kirkpatrick pitch to start the game. Terence Connelly followed with a single through the right side putting runners on the corners. Two batters later Golden crossed home on Corey Dick’s sac fly to left for the games first run. LaGrange followed with a two-run shot to left field staking the Seahawks to a 3-0 lead.
Steven Linkous’ sac bunt back to Love in the second plated Robbie Thorburn extending UNCW’s lead to 4-0. Thorburn led off the frame with a single up the middle and wound up on third after a stolen base and an errant throw by Lowery to centerfield on the attempt.
The Pirates tacked on three runs in the sixth pushing their lead to 8-4. Yorgen picked up his second hit of the night to start the inning and took third on Brooks’ single through the left side before scoring the would-be game-winner on Shepley’s wild pitch. Brooks crossed home on the next pitch, which was called a balk for ECU’s second run of the stanza. Zach Houchins, who boosted his team-leading batting average to .349, doubled home Reynolds capping the scoring for the Pirates on the night.
UNCW got a late run in the ninth when Justin Carroll singled home Dick, cutting the lead to 8-5.
Brown led all players with three hits, his fourth-straight multi-hit game and drove in a team-high two runs for the Pirates. Houchins and Yorgen each added two hits and an RBI, while Morgan and Reynolds each drove in a run.
ECU will be back on the field Thursday night when it plays host to Middle Tennessee in a three-game Conference USA series. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. (ET).