GREENVILLE, N.C. – Luke Borders and Joe Genord each hit home runs, while Joe Cavallaro worked seven strong innings helping USF to a 6-5 American Athletic Conference series clinching win over No. 21 East Carolina Sunday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Bulls improve to 23-28 overall and 8-13 in league play, while the Pirates dropped to 31-19-1 and 12-8-1.
Cavallaro (5-3) allowed five runs (all earned) on five hits with a walk in his seven innings. The right-hander induced seven fly ball and 12 ground outs to go along with a pair of strikeouts. Tommy Eveld picked up his ninth save of the season tossing two scoreless frames with two strikeouts and one walk.
Chris Holba (3-1) suffered the loss in relief giving up one run (earned) on two hits with a walk in 1.2 innings. Starter Jacob Wolfe was touched for five runs (three earned) on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Sam Lanier worked one-third of an inning allowing a hit with a walk and one strikeout, while Joe Ingle (1.1 IP, 3 BBs, 4 Ks) and Matt Bridges (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) pitched the final 2.1 frames.
USF doubled up ECU in the hit column 10 to five and left 16 runners on base (10 in scoring position). Borders belted his third home run of the series going 3-for-5 with a pair or runs on the day. Genord was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and scored three runs, while Kevin Merrell added a pair of hits and two RBI.
For the third-straight game Turner Brown led the Pirates in hits with a 2-for-3 performance. Bryce Harman blasted his fourth home run of the season with two-run shot in the fifth and Garrett Brooks drove in a pair on his 11th double of the year.
How It Happened:
In a five-all ball game going to the sixth inning, Borders solo shot to right proved to be the game-winning run as USF took a 6-5 lead.
USF jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second frame on Garrett Zech’s bases loaded walk. Genord drew a free pass with one out, took second on Coco Montes single through the left side and came around to score on consecutive walks to Merrill and Zech.
ECU responded with a five runs in the home half of the second taking a 5-1 lead. Brown single up the middle, too second on Dwanya Williams-Sutton’s walk and came around to score along with Williams-Sutton on Brooks’ double to right center. Harman pushed the Pirates lead to 4-1 on a two-run homer to right field. Jeff Nelson kept the inning going after he was plunked by a Cavallaro pitch. He then stole second to move into scoring position and took third on a wild pitch before crossing home on Parker Lamm’s ground out to second.
Genord’s two-run home run in the third pulled the Bulls within two, 5-3. Borders started the stanza with a single through the right side and after Wolfe got a pair of fly ball outs, Genord took a 1-0 offering over the left field wall for his fourth round-tripper of the season.
Merrill’s two-RBI double to right field in the fifth knotted the game at five-all. With two outs, Genord was hit by a pitch and moved to second on an error by Brown at short. A walk to Montes loaded the bases for Merrill, who plated a pair of runs on his fourth double of the year.
ECU will close out its regular season home schedule on Tuesday, May 17 when it plays host to Campbell at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Senior Night.
-per ECU Athletics