No. 13 ECU Baseball blanks USF in series opener, 4-0

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TAMPA, Fla. (ECU) – Jake Agnos tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts, while Jake Washer’s three-run homer proved the be the game-winning hit as No. 13 ECU took the American Athletic Conference series opener from USF, 4-0, Friday night at the USF Baseball Stadium.

With the win the Pirates improve to 19-6 on the year and 4-0 in league action, while extending their win streak to seven games. The Bulls fall to 12-12 on the season and 1-3 in the conference.

In a scoreless contest after one frame, Washer’s third homer of the season staked ECU to a 3-0 lead. With two away, Thomas Francisco singled to right field which was followed by Brady Lloyd’s walk. Washer took a first pitch offering from Collin Sullivan to straight-away centerfield for the early advantage.

Agnos (4-1) earned the win tossing six scoreless frames where he allowed three hits, walked two and fanned 11 batters. The South paw punched out a rare four batters in the first inning, which was followed by two in the second and third innings, and one each in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames. Sam Lanier gave up one hit, walked and struck out a pair in two innings, while Ryder Giles retired all three Bulls’ he faced in the ninth.

Sullivan (2-1) suffered the loss surrendering four runs (all earned) on seven hits with five walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Connor Eason gave up a hit, walked two and struck out one in two relief frames and Richie Cruz tossed a clean ninth with one punch out.

The Pirates added to their lead in the third when Alec Burleson singled home Bryant Packard from second for a 4-0 lead. Packard walked to start the stanza and took second on Lane Hoover’s sac bunt before crossing home on the first of two Burleson singles.

It wasn’t easy for Agnos or ECU in the bottom of the first inning. Jordan Santos reached after striking out coupled with an error by Spencer Brickhouse at first trying to complete the strikeout. With Santos on second, Kyle Phillips reached on a strikeout wild pitch putting runners at first and second. Agnos fanned the third batter of the stanza getting Joe Genord swinging and on the same play, Phillips took off for second and he was tagged out in a run down. The Pirates got out of the inning when Austin Bodrato went down looking, which gave Agnos four punch outs in the inning.

USF had a chance late in the game to push across a run. With two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, Lanier got Tyler Dietrich to ground out to Giles at third, who dove at Brandon Schrepf trying to reach the bag for the final out in the frame.

ECU doubled up USF in the hit column collecting eight on the night. Burleson registered his team-leading 11th multi-hit game with an RBI. Washer drove in three runs, all coming on his homer in the second frame. In all, six of the Pirates nine starters had a base knock, while Bryson Worrell came off the bench in the eighth singling to right field.

The Pirates and the Bulls will continue the series on Saturday, March 30 with a 6:30 p.m. (ET) scheduled first pitch.