Diamond Bucs Sweep Second Straight Series

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- East Carolina (17-11) won 2-1 on Sunday to complete sweep of UMBC (5-14). The Diamond Bucs have swept two straight series and have won seven straight.

After taking both games in Friday's doubleheader, East Carolina (17-11, 6-3 Conference-USA) completed the sweep of UMBC with a 2-1 victory. The Pirates weren't quite as offensively dominant as they were on Friday, but they still walked away with a third win.

Ryan Williams (8-1) earned his eighth win of the season. After coming in in a tie-game situation, he pitched the last three innings and only gave up a pair of hits. He struck out four straight Retrievers, including all three in the top of the eighth.

"It's never a for-sure thing," said Williams, "but it's definitely my job to just come in there and throw strikes. If I'm able to do that, I feel like, with our defense, it gives us a good chance to win every time."

Before him, David Lucroy threw arguably his best game of the season. Prior to Sunday, Lucroy had started four of his five appearances and had given up 13 runs (all earned) on 22 hits in 15.1 innings pitched. In six full innings against UMBC, Lucroy only surrendered three hits and an unearned run.

"It's real helpful," said manager Billy Godwin. "Now we're exactly halfway through the season at this point. It's good to get him going and get him back to form, especially with the week we have coming up and the challenges we got in the league. We stand 6-3 in the league with 21 league games…I told David, even when he was struggling, he was a big part of that. It's good to see the last two weekends him come out and do what he's done."

The Diamond Bucs outscored UMBC 19-3 in Friday's doubleheader, but played a much closer game contest in the series finale. The two sides only combined for nine hits in Sunday's low-scoring affair.

ECU opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning. Drew Reynolds singled to right field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He ended up reaching third when Zach Houchins grounded out at second base. Ian Townsend stepped up and hit a sac-fly to center field that allowed Reynolds to score.

The Retrievers got one back in the top of the sixth when they ended a 15-inning scoring drought. Lucroy walked Rob McCabe. He got in scoring position via a sac-bunt by Connor Hax and a ground out by Andrew Casali. A passed ball allowed McCabe to score the tying run and effectively concluded Lucroy's duties for the afternoon.

Williams came in at the top of the seventh and the Pirates made short work of UMBC. He gave up a pair of singles to the first two Retrievers to take the plate, but ECU's fielding stepped up and made sure UMBC didn't capitalize on those hits. Townsend made an impressive throw from right field to shortstop Hunter Allen to get Hunter Dolshun out at second. Williams settled in and struck out Manny Colon. Jake Barnes was caught stealing shortly thereafter to close out the top of the seventh.

Charlie Yorgen
(Kat Jessick/InsideECUSports.com)

After striking out the side in the top of the eighth, Williams handed it over to the offense. Dylan Brown led off with a single and reached second via Eric Tyler's sac-bunt. With two strikes, Charlie Yorgen set up the go-ahead run when he nailed an RBI triple down the right field line that allowed Brown to score.

"The guy started me off with a couple good pitches, especially a slider," said Yorgen. "He threw a good strike on me with the slider. Two strikes and I was just looking for another slider and he hung it over the plate. I was able to get a good barrel on it."

Williams wrapped up the hour and 50 minute game by retiring UMBC in order in the top of the ninth. With that, ECU has won seven straight heading into Wednesday's matchup in Raleigh with in-state rival North Carolina State.

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