FIU Completes Sweep of Pirates

GREENVILLE, N.C. – FIU (34-12, 14-10 C-USA) dealt ECU (28-21, 13-11 C-USA) its first sweep in a Conference USA series this season with a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon.

East Carolina right-hander David Lucroy limited Florida International to three hits in eight innings pitched during Sunday's series finale, but was given little run support for his efforts.

Tyler Hibbert's go-ahead single in the top of the eighth inning was enough for the Panthers to escape Clark-LeClair Stadium with a 2-1 victory and a sweep of the weekend series. It marks the first time the Pirates (28-21, 13-11 C-USA) were swept in a Conference USA series this season.

Lucroy (2-5), who was once removed from the weekend rotation following a slow start to the season, worked quickly through FIU batters, tossing 102 pitches in his third consecutive quality start, but was forced to settle with a loss.

"It's very frustrating. I don't even know how else to word it," said Lucroy. "A lot of emotion went into that game."

The red-shirt sophomore held the Panthers without a hit until Zach Sweety's single to lead off the fifth inning, but the game remained scoreless. ECU, at last, struck first with three consecutive hits in the bottom of the sixth inning – culminating with Zach Houchins' RBI single to plate Charlie Yorgen.

But it all slipped away in the eighth inning. With two runners in scoring position, Hibbert drove them both in on a two-out single to left field. And in a moment, FIU jumped in front 2-1.

Panthers' starter Chris Mourelle (8-2) gave way to his bullpen in the bottom of the frame after he lasted 7 1/3 innings and allowed six hits.

Although ECU reached the tying run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings, the pitching combination of Mitchell Davis and Mike Gomez didn't allow another hit and closed the deal – Gomez struck out pinch-hitter Josh Lovick to end the game.

"The difference in the game was that they got a big two-out hit and we had a couple opportunities to get one and we didn't," said ECU coach Billy Godwin. "When two good pitchers are throwing against each other, you're going to get limited opportunities.

"The team that cashes in on most of their opportunities is going to win and that's what they did."

Drew Reynolds was the lone Pirate to collect multiple hits Sunday – 2-for-4 – and had a chance to provide ECU its second run of the sixth inning, but was thrown out at the plate by Hibbert in centerfield.

Reynolds came on to pitch in the ninth inning and successfully kept the deficit at one run with runners on the corners and one out – inducing back-to-back ground balls to end the frame.

The Pirates will not return into action until this weekend at Southern Miss. Game one from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. is set for Friday at 7 p.m., where ECU ace Jeff Hoffman is expected to return to the mound after missing his last two starts due to arm soreness.

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