BOCA RATON, Fla. – Dylan Brown and Luke Lowery each belted home runs, while Brett Mabry and Ryan Williams held Florida Atlantic to just four hits as East Carolina evened the Conference USA weekend series at one-game all with a 6-4 win Saturday afternoon.
The Pirates (26-18, 12-9) scored four two-out runs in the top of the first, which was highlighted by a three-run homer from Lowery. After two quick outs, Zach Houchins got the five-hit frame started with a base knock to right field. Ian Townsend followed with a shot back up the middle and Brown singled home Houchins with another hit to right field. Lowery capped the inning blasting his third home run of the season, seventh career, to right field clearing the bases.
Mabry (4-1) picked up the win allowing three runs (all earned) on one hits with five strikeouts and a pair of walks in six innings. Williams notched his team leading sixth save surrendering one run (earned) on three hits with a pair of punch-outs in three innings of relief.
FAU (22-10, 10-12) starter Jeremy Strawn suffered the loss falling to 3-5 on the year. The right-hander was touched for five runs (all earned) on 10 hits in 4.1 innings. Reliever Andre Archer tossed a career-high 4.2 innings allowing one run (unearned) on one hit with a career-best five strikeouts.
Brown kept the Pirates offense rolling early in the game leading off the third inning with a solo shot to right field putting ECU up 5-0, which proved to be the game-winning run – the third of his career.
Mabry was effective through six innings allowing just one ball out of the infield, a single by Stephen Kerr in the fourth, while fanning five. But in the seventh inning he ran into trouble issuing a pair of opening frame walks to Brendon Sanger and Tyler Rocklein before loading the bases after hitting Robert Buckley.
ECU went to the bullpen to bring in Williams for his team-leading 25th appearance and CJ Chatham welcomed him to the contest with a two-RBI single to center making it a three-run game. The Owls tacked on another run in the stanza when Billy Endris grounded out to first scoring Chatham and cutting the lead to 5-3.
Bryce Harman’s sacrifice fly to deep right field plated Brown pushing the lead back to three, 6-3. Brown recorded his fourth hit of the day with a single to right and then took second on a fielding error by J. Bonilla Traverso on the same play. Lowery’s sac bunt to third moved Brown up and Harman narrowly missed a home run depositing a ball at the wall in right field that easily scored Brown.
The Owls threatened in the bottom of the ninth when Sanger and Rocklein posted back-to-back hits off Williams to start the inning. With runners on second and third and now outs, Williams punched out Buckley, got Chatham to ground out to short where Sanger scored before he struck out Esteban Puerta (pinch hitter) to seal the win.
Offensively ECU pounded out 11 hits with Brown (4 hits), Houchins (2 hits) and Townsend (2 hits) each recording multiple base knocks. Drew Reynolds extended his hit streak to 12 games with a single second, while Charlie Yorgen saw his streak end at nine games.
Both teams return to the field Sunday afternoon for the rubber match with a first pitch scheduled for 12 noon (ET).