GREENSBORO, N.C. – Zach Houchins’ RBI single in the top of the 10th scored Kirk Morgan lifting East Carolina (7-5) to a 4-3 extra inning win over UNC Greensboro (5-6) Wednesday afternoon at UNCG Baseball Stadium.
With the game knotted at three-all in the 10th, Morgan drew a leadoff walk and took third when Garrett Brooks reached on a throwing error by Sean Guite on Brooks sac bunt down the third base line. Following Drew Reynolds fly out to center, Houchins ripped a single through the right side scoring Morgan for the game-winner.
Nick Durazo entered the contest in relief of Reynolds on the mound setting down the Spartan lineup in order to snap ECU’s four-game road losing streak. Reynolds (1-0) picked up the win in an inning of work where he allowed a run (unearned) on two hits with one strike out. Tyler Bolton was solid in his third start of the season surrendering one run (earned) on seven hits in six full frames. David Lucroy tossed two-thirds of an inning giving up a run (earned) before passing the ball to Ryan Williams, who struck out three of the four batters he faced.
Caleb Henley (1-1) suffered the loss for UNCG issuing a walk to Morgan, who would later score the game-winner. Dylan Thompson was touched for three runs (all earned) on four hits with four strikeouts in four innings before being relieved by Tyler Long, who tossed four scoreless frames.
ECU held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, but a fielding miscue by Morgan with two outs allowed Nick Chapman to score sending the contest to extra innings. Reynolds, who entered the game looking for his fourth save of the season, gave up a leadoff single to Chapman followed by Guite’s base knock putting runners on first and second. After two quick outs (strikeout and ground out) Zac MacAneney sent a soft grounder to Morgan who had trouble with the glove to hand transfer allowing the game-tying run to cross home.
UNCG jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, which marked the 12th-straight game that ECU fell behind this season. MacAneney walked to start the frame and moved to second on Julian Abreu’s single to left. After a wild pitch that moved the runners up 90 feet, Hunter King laced a single to right scoring MacAneney with ease.
The Pirates took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth thanks to RBI base hits by Luke Lowery and Ben Fultz. Reynolds (single), Houchins (double) and Ian Townsend (walk) loaded the bases for Lowery, who singled home Reynolds for the Pirates first run. Fultz followed with a two-RBI base hit to left center pushing across Houchins and Townsend, staking ECU to a two-run advantage.
The Spartans pulled within one, 3-2, in the bottom of the seventh inning on MacAnenay’s RBI extra base hit. Guite walked after Lucroy took the mound in place of Bolton and came around to score three batters later on MacAnenay’s triple to right center.
Houchins led the Pirates offensive attack going 3-for-5 with a run scored, while Reynolds collected a pair of hits and also touched home. Fultz and Lowery each added RBI base knocks.
ECU will be back in action this weekend when it plays host to Marshall in the Conference USA opener for both schools. Due to potential inclement weather in the area, the two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, Mar. 8 with first pitch starting at 12 noon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.