Reinheimer's sac-fly lifts ECU past Marshall

ECU clinched its fifth straight series win in Conference USA to keep them in the hunt going in to the final weekend of the league year.

East Carolina didn't showcase its best brand of baseball this weekend against the Marshall Thundering Herd, nor did they play the stiffest of competition. Marshall owns a 19-31 overall record (6-15 Conference USA). But thanks in part to great execution in the latter part of Sunday's rubber game, the Diamond Bucs captured their fifth straight series-win in league-play.

More importantly, they sit in a three-way tie for third place in the Conference USA standings, alongside UCF and Rice, going into the final weekend of the regular season.

With the game tied, 3-3, ECU (28-23, 12-9 C-USA) earned back-to-back walks to start the top of the ninth inning. Following a successful double steal to put the runners in scoring position, shortstop Jack Reinheimer plated Bryan Bass on a sacrifice fly-out to right field that put ECU ahead, 4-3.

Senior Joseph Hughes (1-0) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings for his first win of the season, surrendering just one hit and striking out two.

Zach Houchins led the way offensively – 2-for-4 – and started things offensively with a double in the second inning that extended his hit streak to twelve games. Houchins scored the first run of the game on Ben Fultz's RBI double.

After a walk to load the bases with no outs, reliever Matt Margaritonda came on in relief for starter Michael Taylor, but couldn't get out of the jam unscathed. Margaritonda walked his first batter, Jay Cannon, to score Chase McDonald. ECU added another run on Bass' RBI groundout – bringing in Fultz – to make it 3-0 after two frames.

Marshall wouldn't go away quietly on their home field. In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Thundering Herd collected four consecutive hits to tie the game at 3-3.

On Friday, ECU coasted to a 9-1 win in the series opener. McDonald impressed with a four-RBI performance, highlighted by his league-leading ninth home run of the season.

It looked like the Pirates were going to clinch the weekend series on Saturday, leading 3-2 in the eighth inning, but Marshall got off the mat for a pair of runs to come from behind and win, 4-3.

Designated hitter Drew Reynolds saw his career-best 14-game hitting streak end on Sunday.

ECU will host UCF for its final series of the regular season with a lot on the line. The Pirates and Knights only trail first place Southern Miss (14-7 C-USA) by two games. The series begins Thurday at 6 p.m.


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