No. 11 ECU fends off Cincinnati, 7-6
CINCINNATI, Ohio (ECU) – No. 11 East Carolina scored four runs in the seventh inning and held on for a 7-6 win over Cincinnati Saturday afternoon at UC Stadium in American Athletic Conference play.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 35-11 overall and 17-6 in league play while the Bearcats drop to 25-23 and 14-13.
Trailing 5-3 heading to the seventh, the Pirates plated four runs on four hits to take a two-run lead at 7-5. Connor Norby got the inning going with a leadoff double to left field and Thomas Francisco
followed with an single through the left side putting runners on the corners. Seth Caddell singled to left pushing across Norby and cutting the lead to one at 5-4. Lane Hoover loaded the bases when he was hit by a Nathan Moore pitch and Zach Agnos walked tying the game at five all. Bryson Worrell’s sac fly to right field plated Caddell and Josh Moylan’s RBI single through the left side pushing across Hoover.
Cincinnati cut the score to one, 7-6, in the eighth inning on Tanner Holen’s RBI single up the middle. But the Bearcats left the bases loaded when C.J. Mayhue struck out Cole Harting to end the stanza.
Garrett Saylor (4-1) earned the win in relief allowing a hit with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Mayhue earned his seventh save tossing 1.1 scoreless frames with one strikeout after entering the game in the eighth with two on and two outs. Starter Carson Whisenhunt gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits with a walk and four pun chouts in 4.1 innings. ECU also got bullpen outings from Carter Spivey (0.0 IP 2 Rs), Matt Bridges (1.1 IP, 1 Ru, 2 Ks) and A.J. Wilson (0.1 IP).
Moore (2-3) took the loss after he was touched for four runs (all earned) on three hits with a walk in one inning of work. Starter Evan Shawver gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts in five innings. Jackson Murphy tossed three scoreless innings of relief allowing one hit.
For the third-straight game of the series, ECU took an early lead with a run in the second inning, 1-0. Hoover was hit by a pitch to start the frame and took second when Agnos reached on an error. Moylan followed with a walk to load the bases before Hoover darted home on a wild pitch.
Cincinnati answered with a run in the home half of the second tying the game at one-all. Eric Santiago singled to get things going and took second on a wild pitch before coming around to score on Ryan Nicholoson’s RBI single to center.
Joey Bellini’s RBI fielder’s choice scored Harting giving the Bearcats a 2-1 lead. Harting tripled to straight-away center off the batter’s eye and crossed home two batters later when Bellini reached on a fielder’s choice.
ECU scored a pair of runs in the fifth inning taking a 3-2 lead which was highlighted by Hoover’s RBI infield single and Agnos’ squeeze bunt. But the Bearcats countered with three in the home half of the fifth for a 5-3 advantage.
Norby lead the Pirates’ 10-hit attack going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and extended his on-base streak to a nation-leading 53 games with a single to start the game. Francisco added two h its and scored twice, while five others recorded a base knock.
The Pirates and Bearcats will close out the four-game weekend series on Sunday, May 16 with an 11 a.m. (ET) first pitch and will be streamed on ESPN+.
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