CLEARWATER, Fla. – Freshman Jake Kuchmaner tossed his first career complete game helping No. 15 ECU to a 12-1 (seven innings) semifinal win over No. 18 Houston Friday morning at the 2018 American Athletic Conference Championships.
With the win, the Pirates (42-16) advance to the title game and will play No. 22 UCONN Saturday, May 26 at 10 a.m. (ET). For the Cougars, they exit the tournament with a 36-23 overall record.
How It Happened:
Trailing 1-0 after Tyler Bielamowicz’ home run to lead off the game, the Pirates scored 12 unanswered runs picking up their first win over the Cougars since the 2016 season and advanced to their second-straight AAC Championship – third since becoming a member of the AAC. Spencer Brickhouse drove in the first run of the game on an infield single that scored Andrew Henrickson, who walked to start the frame. Dwanya Williams-Sutton scored the game-winner on a wild pitch giving ECU a 2-1 lead after one inning. From that moment on, it was all Kuchmaner on the mound and the Pirates at-bat. ECU plated five runs in the third extending its lead to 7-1. Connor Litton laced the first of three doubles (two-run shot) scoring Henrickson and Brickhouse. After the Pirates loaded the bases and Houston made a pitching change, Jake Washer scored on a wild pitch. Turner Brown and Bryson Worrell followed with RBI singles pushing across Litton and Alec Burleson. The Pirates continued to score runs plating two in the fourth on Litton’s double and Burleson’s ground out, two in the fifth on Williams-Sutton and Brickhouse singles, and one in the sixth on Brady Lloyd’s single to cap the scoring at 12-1 in seven innings (10-run rule).
Kuchmaner (4-0) got the win tossing his first career complete game (seven innings) allowing one run (earned) on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts. The lefty fanned at least one batter in four of seven frames including a pair in third inning.
Bielamowicz (0-2) took the loss surrendering seven runs (all earned) on three hits with five walks in 2.1 innings. Hunter Edwards gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits with a walk and one punch out in 2.1 frames, while Dylan Lester allowed one run (earned) on two hits with a pair of free passes and one strikeout in 1.1 innings.
The Pirates improved to 23-2 on the season when reaching double-digit hits as they banged out 11 on the day. Brickhouse and Litton led the way with three each, while Williams-Sutton and Bryson Worrell added two apiece. Litton, who laced three doubles, drove in three runs while Brickhouse had a pair of RBI. Seven of the Pirates starting nine scored a run, while Litton touched home three times and the trio of Brickhouse, Henrickson and Williams-Sutton scored twice.
Things To Know:
ECU advances to its third AAC Championship Game (two-straight) with the win … The Pirates are 1-1 when playing for the leagues automatic NCAA berth …
The Pirates snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Cougars with their seven-inning win, which dated back to 2016 … It also snapped the Cougars streak of consecutive finals appearances (four) since they joined the league in 2014 …
Litton’s three doubles in the game are the most since Eric Tyler had three in 2017 (vs. Towson/Mar. 24) …
Kuchmaner is the first Pirate pitcher to toss a complete game this season (first since Jacob Wolfe at UCONN/2016) and the first to twirl one in AAC Championship play …
The Pirates top of the order (1-through-5) finished with eight hits, drove in six runs and scored 10 times) …
The Pirates will look to capture the 12th tournament title in program history (first since 2015) when they take on the Huskies Saturday morning at Spectrum Field. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. (ET) and can be viewed online on American Digital Network Plus Facebook.