ECU tops UCF in AAC Baseball Tournament opener
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Andrew Henrickson tallied a game-high three hits and drove in a personal-best four runs helping No. 15 ECU to an 8-4 opening round win over UCF Tuesday morning in the 2018 American Athletic Conference Baseball Championships presented by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater at Spectrum Field.
With the win the Pirates (40-15) move to the winners’ bracket and will face either top-seeded Houston or No. 8-seed Tulane Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (ET). The Knights (35-20) will play an elimination game against Houston/Tulane loser Wednesday at 9 a.m. (ET).
How It Happened:
Trailing 3-0 after the top of the first inning, ECU chipped away scoring one run in the first, two in the second and two more in the third to take a 5-3 lead. Jake Washer plated the Pirates first run with an RBI double down the left field line that scored Dwanya Williams-Sutton in their initial frame. RBI singles by Turner Brown (Alec Burleson scored) and Spencer Brickhouse (Brown scored) knotted the game at three-all in the second inning. Henrickson’ RBI triple in the third pushed across Connor Litton and Brady Lloyd followed with a sac fly to center allowing Henrickson to cross home for a two-run advantage, 5-3. UCF responded with one in the fourth pulling within one, 5-4, on Ray Alejo’s RBI sing to center that scored Brandon Hernandez. Henrickson put the game out of reach in the seventh with a bases clearing double to right-center that plated Brickhouse, Washer and Litton extending ECU’s lead to 8-4. Over the next two frames, the Knights had a runner reach in each of the eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to score capping the game at 8-4.
Ryan Ross (2-4) picked up the win in relief tossing two scoreless frames with three strikeouts. Starter Chris Holba worked just 3.1 innings allowing four runs (all earned) on two hits with four walks and a pair of strikeouts. Also, coming out of the pen for the Pirates were Davis Kirkpatrick (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB) and Zach Barnes (2.0 IP, 2 Hs, 1 K).
Thad Ward (5-4) took the loss out of the pen surrendering four runs (all earned) on five hits with one walk and two punch outs in 2.2 innings. Starter Luis Ferrer lasted just one-third on an inning giving up one run (earned) on one hit with two walks and on strikeout. In all, the Knights used five pitchers in relief also getting outings from Eric Hepple (2.0 IP, 2 Hs, 1 K), Bryce Tucker (1.0 IP, 1 K), Jordan Spicer (1.0 IP, 4 Hs, 3 Rs, 1 BB, 1 K) and Jeffrey Hakanson (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 K).
The Pirates pounded out 12 hits improving to 22-2 on the year when recording double-digit base knocks. Henrickson led the way going 3-for-4 with four RBI, while Brickhouse, Burleson and Washer each added two hits. Williams-Sutton drew three free passes and scored a run on the day, while Litton crossed home twice. Seven of ECU’s starting nine registered at least one hit in the contest and seven scored at least one run.
Things To Know:
Bryant Packard’s 32-game hit streak (37 on-base streak) came to an end Tuesday after going 0-for-5 at the plate …
Brickhouse’s on-base streak moved to 25 games after walking in the first inning … With his two base hits, he now has 17 multi-hit games on the season …
Henrickson and Washer both tallied their 13th multi-hit game of the season, while Henrickson produced his fourth multi-RBI game of the season with his four on the day …
With the win, ECU improve to 4-0 against UCF in the American Baseball Championships (1-0/2018, 2-0/2017, 1-0/2015) …
The Pirates also picked up their 40th win of the season marking the 14th time in program history (second under Cliff Godwin) that they have won at least 40 games in a season …
ECU will be back in action Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) when they face the winner of Houston/Tulane at Robin Roberts Field. Due to schedule and location changes in the tournament, Wednesday’s game will not be streamed online.