Pirates Split Doubleheader with Roadrunners

GREENVILLE, N.C. – ECU (31-24, 15-14 C-USA) and UTSA (32-23, 16-13 C-USA) began their final C-USA series of the regular season by splitting a doubleheader at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

East Carolina was given superb starts on the mound by both Reid Love and Tyler Bolton Friday, but could only split its doubleheader with the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners.

Love tossed a complete-game in the first game – a 3-2 ECU victory – and Bolton didn't surrender a hit before struggling with his command. The Roadrunners scored on a Bolton wild pitch in the sixth inning to tie the game, which prompted Head Coach Billy Godwin to turn to senior Ryan Williams.

Two innings later, John Bormann plated the eventual game-winning run on an RBI fielder's choice that evaded Williams on a sharply-hit comebacker. And that was enough. The Roadrunners survived to win the night-cap 2-1 and tie the series at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

"You feel good about getting game one," Godwin said. "We need to come out with a little more intensity tomorrow. Hopefully we look to take this series and carry it into the conference tournament."

UTSA (32-23, 16-13 C-USA) southpaw Nolan Trabanino (8-3) scattered four hits over 7 1/3 innings before giving way to reliever Logan Onda, who secured the save without any trouble.

Although ECU (31-23, 15-13 C-USA) pitchers weren't provided much run support, senior Dylan Brown produced at the plate – supplying a double and his third home run of the season in the doubleheader.

His homer opened scoring Friday as he lined a Brock Hartson (6-3) changeup over the right field fence to lead off the second inning of game one. Zach Houchins later stretched the lead to 3-0 on an RBI double down the left field line in the bottom of the fifth inning that also plated an additional run – UTSA catcher John Bormann was charged with an error at the plate after dropping a potential putout of Drew Reynolds.

However, the cushion was short lived. In the next half inning, the Pirates were bitten by a few critical mistakes. First, it was a rare fielding error on Houchins at third base. Then, a seemingly harmless single to centerfield slipped under the glove of Garrett Broooks; allowing a run to cross and a baserunner to advance to third base that eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.

Despite the defensive miscues, Love (5-3) remain composed and although he didn't overwhelm UTSA batsmen with any of his pitches, he cruised to his team-leading third complete game of the season. The junior southpaw didn't allow an earned run in any of the three games.

"I was feeling good. I was able to command all of my pitches pretty well. They are a really good hitting team and I had to locate really well just to have a good outing," Love said.

Between games, ECU recreated a graduation ceremony for the seniors who were unable to attend last weekend's in Greenville because of the Pirates' weekend series in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Once game two began, the Pirates were quite at the plate. Similar to Friday's opener, ECU got on the board first by way of the long ball – Ian Townsend blasted his fifth homer of the year just short of the scoreboard in right-center field.

Meanwhile, Tyler Bolton, who was erratic at times – walking five and hitting a batsman – kept the Roadrunners at bay up until the sixth inning. Following back-to-back walks and a fielder's choice to lead-off the frame, Bolton allowed the tying run to score on a wild pitch that overshot catcher Luke Lowery.

UTSA booked its first hit of game two in the top of the seventh inning – a lead-off single by pinch-hitter Grant Gibbs off of Williams (10-3).

The regular season finale for both the Pirates and Roadrunners is set to start 11 a.m. at Saturday afternoon. Amidst Friday's action, it was learned that both teams had clinched berths into next week's Conference USA Tournament, while Florida Atlantic has been officially eliminated.

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