Tulane trip results in possible turning point

The Pirates took two wins against the Green Wave in three games decided in the final inning.

Entering this weekend's series at Tulane, The Pirates had a sub .500 record with 33 games played and only 21 remaining on the schedule. If there was ever a time to right the ship it would be in New Orleans.

ECU (17-19, 3-6) might have done just that, winning two against the Green Wave in a thrilling series. The series first two games went to extra innings, followed by a Sunday win for the Pirates in the ninth inning off of a go-ahead home run.

With the score tied 2-2 in the ninth inning of Sunday's matchup, Luke Lowery hit a go-ahead home run to spark a two-run ninth inning and a 4-2 ECU victory.

Jack Reinheimer scored the other run on an RBI single that plated Bryan Bass in the top of the ninth. Drew Reynolds was credited with the win (3-1) after pitching 1.2 innings and allowing no hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Reynolds retired Tulane's batters in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win.

Ryan Williams started the game on the mound for ECU, giving up two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. Jake Harris came in first to relieve Williams. Harris gave up just one hit in 1.2 innings before Reynolds entered the game to close.

Chase McDonald started the game's scoring in the second inning when he hit a two-run homer to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. McDonald leads the team with five homeruns on the season.

Bass and Nick Thompson were both efficient at the plate as well. Bass went two-for-five and Thompson a perfect two-for-two. Both scored a run in the game.

Tulane was able to tie up the game in the bottom of the sixth inning to set the game up for its dramatic finish. The Green Wave's Garrett Carnnizaro and Bowen Wilson each hit RBI singles in the inning.

In Saturday's matchup, Carnnizaro hit another RBI single, this one a walk off, to steal a 5-4 Tulane win in 12 innings.

Trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, ECU's Reinheimer and Reynolds both hit RBI singles to tie the game at four apiece. That score would remain until Tulane sealed the game in extra innings.

David Lucroy pitched six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits with three strikeouts for the Pirates. Brett Mabry (1-2) took the loss for ECU after allowing just one run on four hits in 5.1 innings of play.

The series-opening game on Friday also went into extra innings, as the Pirates came out on top, 3-2, in 13 innings on a bases-loaded sac fly from Bass. Ben Fultz scored the game-winning run.

ECU's pitching unit put on a fine performance to keep the team in this game. Jeff Hoffman started the game and lasted a career-long 9.2 innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while striking out six batters. He was relieved by Reynolds, who threw 3.1 innings of perfect baseball and matched Hoffman's six strikeouts.

The Pirates held a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the ninth inning, but Tulane found a way to force extra innings. The Green Wave's Sean Potkay hit an RBI double to begin the scoring, and the tying run came on a throwing error by Reinheimer.

Zach Houchins led the ECU bats with a career-high four hits, while also scoring two runs and notching an RBI.

This weekend showed that this Pirate team will not be throwing in the towel for the remainder of the season despite a rough start. This weekend showed grit and a sense of determination that could spark a late run in a wide-open Conference USA. This weekend, though just one series, showed promise.

And promise is what could make a scrappy team quite dangerous in the final third of the season (just ask the basketball team). Pirate Nation, get ready for a wild ride.

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