UCF storms back to beat ECU, 8-7 in 11 innings
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Brennan Bozeman’s RBI single in the top of the 11th gave UCF an 8-7 extra inning win over East Carolina Thursday night in American Athletic Conference action at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Knights improve to 24-11 overall and 3-4 in league play, while the Pirates fall to 19-16 on the season and 0-7 in conference action.
Bryce Tucker (2-0) earned the win tossing three scoreless innings of relief allowing one hit, walking one and striking out three. Starter Robby Howell surrendered seven runs (five earned) on five hits with five walks and one strikeout in 3.1 innings – his shortest outing this season. UCF used three pitchers to bridge the gap to Tucker in Trent Thompson (1.2 IP, 2 Ks), Thaddeus Ward (1.0 IP, 1 K) and Chris Williams (2.0 IP, 1 BB).
Matt Bridges (0-3) took the loss giving up one run (earned) on three hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts. Starter Jake Agnos lasted four innings allowing one run (earned) on three hits with a career-high five walks and one strikeout before turning the game over to the Pirates bullpen. The Pirates used four other arms in the game getting outings from Jacob Wolfe (1.0 IP, 3 Rs), Sam Lanier (2.0 IP, 1 R), Tyler Smith (2.0 IP, 2 Rs) and Ryan Ross (0.1 IP, 1 K).
Eli Putnam led the Knights 14-hit attack going 4-for-4 with two runs scored. Matthew Mika collected a pair of hits and scored twice, while Rylan Thomas had two hits and drove in three runs. Eight of UCF’s stating nine had a least one base knock in the contest.
Spencer Brickhouse tallied a team-best three hits for ECU with one RBI, while Travis Watkins and Charlie Yorgen registered a pair of hits. Yorgen drove in a career-best four runs – all coming on his grand slam in the fourth inning. Eric Tyler saw his seven-game hit streak come to an end, but extended his on-base streak to a personal-best 21 games with his walk in the fourth inning.
How It Happened:
Trailing 7-1 after the fourth inning, UCF scored seven unanswered runs which was capped off by Bozeman’s RBI single in the 11th. Mika singled to right center to get things going then took second on Thomas’ fly ball to left field before crossing home on Bozeman’s lone hit of the contest.
ECU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a UCF miscue by Kyle Marsh in left field. With two outs in the frame, Watkins singled up the middle and T.J. Riles drew a walk before Brickhouse’s fly ball to left field, where Marsh was unable to make the catch on the ball right at him allowing both Watkins and Riles to cross home.
UCF got on the board scoring a run in the third inning pulling within one, 2-1. Putnam doubled to right center (ground rule) to start the inning and took third on Mika’s single back up the middle before coming home on Marsh’s ground ball to short that resulted in a double play.
The Pirates responded with a run in the home half of the third pushing their lead back to two, 3-1. Yorgen drew an opening frame walk and took second on Watkins’ ground out to third before moving to second on Riles’ deep fly ball to right field. Brickhouse drove in his 19th run of the season with a single to center plating Yorgen.
Yorgen’s second homer of the season (seventh career) came in grand fashion in the fourth inning staking ECU to a 7-1 lead. Dusty Baker walked with one out and took third on Bryce Harman’s double down the left field line. Tyler walked to load the bases before Yorgen cleared them on a 3-1 offering from Howell sending the ball over the right field.
Consecutive home runs to straight away centerfield by Marsh and Thomas off Wolfe highlighted a three-run fifth for the Knights, 7-4. Putman doubled for the second time on the night (left field line) and came around on Marsh’s fourth homer of the season. Thomas followed immediately with a solo blast, his eighth of the season, making it a three-run lead for the Pirates.
Mika’s RBI single to left field scored Anthony George from second base cutting ECU’s lead to two, 7-5, in the sixth inning. George singled with one out moved to second on Putnam’s third hit of the night. Mika followed with a shot to left field plating George before Watkins threw Putnam out at third to end the stanza.
UCF knotted the game at seven-all in the ninth on Thomas’ two-RBI single with two outs in the frame. Putnam singled with one out before he was lifted for Josh Moser as a pinch runner. Mika was hit by a pitch and both runners moved 90 feet on Marsh’s ground out to short. Thomas sent a 1-2 pitch from Smith to shallow right field plating the pair.
ECU and UCF will play game two of the three-game conference series on Friday, April 14 with a 6:30 p.m. (ET) scheduled first pitch.