CLEARWATER, Fla. – Charlie Yorgen hit a three-run homer in the third inning and Evan Kruczynski worked six strong innings as No. 8 East Carolina defeated No. 1 UCF 14-3 in first round action of the 2017 American Athletic Baseball Conference Championships Tuesday night at Spectrum Field. With the win, the Pirates improve to 30-27 overall while the Knights fall to 38-19.
Evan Kruczynski (4-2) picked up the win allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts in six innings for his third quality start of the season. Tyler Smith gave up a run (earned) on two hits with three strikeouts, while Davis Kirkpatrick closed out the game tossing a scoreless ninth with a pair of punch outs.
Trent Thompson (0-2) was touched for four runs (all earned) on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 2.2 innings for the loss. The Knights used four pitchers in relief getting outings from Eric Hepple (1.1 IP, 2 Hs, 1 K), Thaddeus Ward (1.2 IP, 4 Hs, 5 Rs, 4 ERs, 1 BB, 2 Ks), Andrew Rohloff (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) and Juan Pimental (2.0 IP, 5 Hs, 4 Rs, 4 ERs, 2 BBs).
The Pirates pounded out 14 base knocks getting multiple hits from Spencer Brickhouse (2), Travis Watkins (3), Dwanya Williams-Sutton (3) and Yorgen (2). Yorgen led the club with three RBI, while Turner Brown and Watkins had two each. All nine of ECU’s starters collected one hit as they improve to 24-10.
USF tallied 11 hits on the night getting two from Kyle Marsh and Rylan Thomas, who also drove in two of the Bulls three runs.
How It Happened
Yorgen’s three-run home run highlighted a four-run third frame giving ECU its first lead at 4-2. Andrew Henrickson was hit by a Thompson pitch and took second on Brady Lloyd’s walk before Yorgen cranked his fifth homer of the season giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Watkins followed with a double to center and took third on a Hamblin error before crossing home on Brickhouse’s bloop single to left field.
UCF jumped out to an early 1-0 lead scoring a run in the home half of the first inning. Luke Hamblin led off with a double down the left field line and with two outs took third on a Kruczynski wild pitch before strolling home on Marsh’s double down the right field line.
The Knights added to their lead in the second taking a 2-0 advantage. With two outs, Ryan Crile singled through the left side and came around to score when Anthony George singled to left field coupled with a fielding error by Williams-Sutton.
The Pirates scored three in the fifth with two outs extending their lead to five, 7-2. Watkins walked with one out and took third on Brickhouse’s second hit of the night, a single through the right side. After Eric Tyler struck out, Brown laced a two-RBI double to right center and scored on the play thanks to a fielding error by third baseman Kam Gellinger while trying to take third.
Watkins’ two RBI double in the sixth pushed ECU’s lead to 9-2. Dusty Baker was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second on Lloyd’s sac bunt. Yorgen’s single to right pushed Baker to third and Watkins followed with his second extra-base hit of the night, a shot to right center clearing the bases.
UCF scored a run in the eighth making it a 9-3 game before ECU plated four more in the top of the ninth to cap the scoring at 14-3.
East Carolina will return to action on Thursday, May 25th when it faces No. 4 USF. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the American Digital Network.