GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – Spencer Brickhouse’s three-run home run in the fifth inning lifted No. 14 ECU to a 7-4 American Athletic Conference win over UCF Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win, the Pirates claim its first league series of the season improving to 17-6 overall and 2-0 in AAC action while the Knights fall to 15-8 and 0-2.
Trailing 3-2 going to the bottom of the fifth frame, Brickhouse belted his team-leading fourth home run (a three-run shot) giving ECU its first lead of the day, 5-3. Bryson Worrell started the inning with a walk and moved to third on Bryant Packard’s one-out single through the left side. After Lane Hoover flew out to shallow left, Brickhouse sent a 2-1 offering from Grant Schuermann down the right field line for the two-run advantage.
Zach Barnes (1-2) picked up the win striking out the lone batter he faced in the fifth with runners on second and third with two outs. Evan Voliva notched his second save of the year tossing two scoreless frames with a pair of punch outs. Starter Tyler Smith allowed three runs (all earned) on three hits with a walk and one strikeout in 4.2 innings. Gavin Williams saw his first action out of the bullpen working two-plus innings where he gave up one run (earned) on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts.
Schuermann (1-3) took the loss after being touched for five runs (all earned) on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in seven innings. Jack Sinclair came out of the pen and was tagged for two runs (both earned) on four hits with a walk in one frame.
For the second-straight day, UCF wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard taking a 3-0 lead. With the bases loaded and no outs, Dallas Beaver pushed across the first run (Ray Alejo) with a ground out to second where Tyler Osik took third and Matthew Mika moved to up to second. Anthony George followed with a sac fly to center scoring Osik and Dalton Wingo’s RBI single to left plated Mika.
Playing a little small ball, the Pirates cut into the Knights lead making it a one-run game, 3-2. With Brady Lloyd on third and Worrell standing on first, Ryder Giles dropped down his seventh sac bunt of the season scoring Lloyd. Packard followed with a single back up the middle pushing across Worrell.
Chandler Robertson’s RBI sac fly to center pulled the Knights within one, 5-4, in the eighth. Beaver drew and opening frame walk, and George singled through the left side chasing Williams from the contest. With one away and runners at second and third, Robertson lifted an 0-2 offering from Voliva to deep center scoring Beaver.
But ECU responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the eighth taking a 7-4 lead. Four consecutive hits by Hoover (single), Brickhouse (single), Alec Burleson (RBI double) and Turner Brown (RBI single) solidified the series win for the Pirates.
The Pirates offense pounded out 10 hits and improved to 12-0 when tallying double-digit base knocks. The trio of Brickhouse, Burleson and Packard each registered two hits, while Brown, Giles, Hoover and Lloyd each added one. Brickhouse drove in three runs pushing his series total to seven this weekend.
ECU’s pitching staff limited UCF’s offense to just four hits, while walking three and combining on six strikeouts (23 for the series).
The final game of the series will take place Sunday, March 24 with a 12 noon (ET) scheduled first pitch.