GREENVILLE, N.C. – Luke Lowery’s RBI bunt single down the third base line scored Drew Reynolds in the bottom of the 10th inning lifting East Carolina to a Conference USA series win over UTSA, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates close out the regular season 32-24 overall and 16-14 in league play, while UTSA drops to 32-14 and 16-14.
In the bottom of the 10th frame in a two-all tie, Lowery strolled to the plate with Zach Houchins (second) and Reynolds (third) on base with two outs looking to drive in the series-clinching run. Reynolds and Houchins led off the stanza with back-to-back singles putting runners at first and second with no outs. UTSA reliever Wesley Cox retired Dylan Brown via a bunt strikeout and got Ian Townsend to roll over on a 0-1 offering to second, which moved both runners into scoring position setting up Lowery’s heroics.
With the Roadrunners infield defense set back at the corners, Lowery dropped a bunt towards third base that hugged the line going in foul and then fair before coming to a complete stop at the bag pushing Reynolds across for his fourth career game-winning RBI.
Reynolds (4-2) got the win tossing four shutout innings in relief allowing a pair of this and striking out one. Starter Brett Mabry allowed two runs (both earned) on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings of work. For Mabry it was his fourth quality start of the 2014 season.
Cox (7-2) suffered the loss surrendering the game-winning run in extras. The right-hander scattered four hits over 3.2 innings of relief with three strikeouts. Cody Brannon went 4.1 innings giving up a run (earned) on four hits with three walks and three punch-outs. Justin Anderson was touched for a run (unearned) on three hits in 1.2 innings of relief.
UTSA jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fifth scoring both of its runs with two outs. John Welborn cranked his third home run of the season sending a solo shot down the left field line for the games first run. The Roadrunners extended their lead using three consecutive base hits from Horacio Correa III, RJ Perucki and Mike Warren – the last scoring Correa from second.
Brown’s RBI single in the bottom half of the fifth pulled the Pirates within one, 2-1. Charlie Yorgen was plunked by a Brannon pitch, took second on Reynolds walk and crossed home on Brown’s base hit through the left side.
ECU knotted the game at two-all in the sixth when Lowery scored on an error by the catcher John Bormann. Lowery doubled to start the frame and moved to third on Bryce Harman’s grounder to second. Garrett Brooks sent a 1-0 offering to left field and Lowery darted home after the catch trying to tag up. Though Logan Kinder made a perfect throw to the plate that seemed to be in time to record the inning-ending double play, Bormann dropped the ball allowing Lowery to score.
ECU out-hit UTSA 11 to nine on the day getting a three-hit performance from Lowery and two hits each from Hunter Allen and Reynolds. Correa led the Roadrunners with three base knocks, while Perucki and Warred added two.
The Pirates will hit the road for the 2014 Conference USA Championships next week, which will be held in Hattiesburg, Miss. and hosted by Southern Miss. Complete tournament brackets and game times will be released later this evening.