Norby drives in five runs for ECU in 13-9 win over Cincinnati
AAC Player of the Year Connor Norby hit a pair of home runs and drove in five runs
CLEARWATER, Fla. (ECU) – American Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year Connor Norby hit a pair of home runs and drive in a career-high five runs, while Matt Bridges earned the win in his first career start lifting No. 11 and top seed East Carolina to a 13-9 win over Cincinnati Wednesday afternoon in an elimination game at BayCare Ballpark.
With the win the Pirates improve to 39-14 on the season and stay alive in the American Baseball Championships and will play the loser of the UCF-Memphis game on Friday, May 28 at 1 p.m. (ET). The Bearcats finish their season with a 29-26 record.
For the second-straight day, Norby staked the Pirates to an early 1-0 lead he took the third pitch of the game he saw from Zach Segal over the right field wall for another lead-off home run – his fourth of the season.
A four-run second inning by the Pirates extended their lead to 5-0. Ryder Giles singled home Seth Caddell after a leadoff walk and two-out walk by Lane Hoover from second with a shot through the left side and Norby blasted his second home run of the game, a three-run shot, clearing the bases.
Bridges (4-0) earned the win tossing 2.2 scoreless frames where he allowed three hits, one walk and struck out five. Zach Agnos earned his first save of the season after allowing one run (earned) on one hits with three walks and two punch outs in 1.1 innings. Between Bridges and Agnos, ECU used six arms in relief on a staff day getting outings from Cam Colmore (1.2 IP, 1 R), Landon Ginn (0.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB), A.J. Wilson (0.2 IP, 1 R, 2 Ks), Josh Grosz (0.0 IP, 2 Rs), C.J. Mayhue (0.0 IP, 2 Rs) and Giles (2.2 IP, 2 Rs).
Segal (5-4) suffered the loss after he was touched for seven runs (six earned) on six hits in four-plus innings with four walks and three strikeouts. Dean McCarthy (1.0 IP, 4 Rs), Nathan Moore (2.0 IP, 2 Rs) and Jackson Murphy (1.0 IP, 0′s) all worked out of the bullpen.
Cincinnati finally got on the board in the top of the fourth closing the gap to four runs, 5-1. Three consecutive singles by Paul Komistek (right center), Ryan Nicholson (up the middle) and Tanner Holen (shortstop) loaded the bases for Wyatt Stapp, whose sac fly to left scored Komistek. Colmore got out of trouble getting another fly out and a ground out to end the Bearcat threat.
Pirates scored six two-out runs in the fifth inning taking a commanding 11-1 lead. Jacob Starling plated his first career run on an infield single with the bases loaded pushing across Francisco. A throwing error by McCarthy scored Josh Moylan, a walk by Giles allowed Agnos to score. Norby drew another walk for his fifth RBI of the game scoring Starling and Francisco’s two-run single pushed across Hoover and Giles.
The Bearcats cut the lead to 11-6 after a five-run sixth inning. Jace Mercer hit a two-run double and Joey Bellini hit his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot to left.
Cincinnati wouldn’t go away as they added two runs in the eighth on a two-run double by Ryan Nicholson making it a three-run game, 11-8. But the Pirates responded with two insurance runs in the home half of the frame when Bryson Worrell homered to right field and Hoover laced an RBI single pushing the lead to 13-8.
Jake Murphy’s pinch-hit home run off Agnos in the ninth capped the scoring at 13-8.
ECU registered 14 hits on the day with Norby collecting three hits and Hoover added two more. Nine other Pirates got in on the hit parade tallying one each.
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