Despite letting go of a four-run lead, East Carolina held on to defeat host team Southern Miss. The Pirates claimed an 11-inning, 9-8 win over the host team to move on to play in Thursday's winner's bracket.
The Pirates led 8-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Southern Miss scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to cut its deficit in half. With a strong defensive showing that saw ECU set down in order in the eighth, the Golden Eagles were able to tie the game, 8-8, in the bottom of the ninth.
|Eric Tyler scored the winning run.|
ECU matched with an equally impressive defensive performance in extra innings. Ryan Williams, who pitched 4.2 innings of relief, retired the side in order in the 10th and 11th innings. With the opportunity to jump ahead, Eric Tyler scored the winning run when Hunter Allen was walked with the bases loaded.
The Golden Eagles put pressure early on. Starting pitcher Christian Talley deprived ECU the chance to score an early run by knocking down the Pirates in order in the top of the first. He notched a pair of strikeouts on the first three batters he faced.
Breck Kline followed up by leading off in the bottom of the first with a solo home run to take a 1-0 lead. The Diamond Bucs responded by setting down the next three batters they faced to keep Southern Miss' lead to one goal.
ECU scored a pair of runs in the third inning to take its first lead of the game. Bryce Harman led off with a solo shot to left field. Garrett Brooks followed up with a single and reached third via a throwing error and a sac-bunt by Allen. Charlie Yorgen drove him in with a bunt to the pitcher to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
The lead quickly evaporated in the bottom of the inning, though. Southern Miss scored three runs on three hits to recover and jump ahead 4-2. After giving up runs on three straight at-bats, ECU recorded back-to-back ground outs to close out the inning.
The Bucs then exploded with a three-hit, five-run showing in the fifth inning. Allen and led off with consecutive singles and Drew Reynolds reached on a fielder's choice. With the bases loaded, Houchins walked and plated Allen in the process.
ECU broke through and scored the most runs its scored since putting up 12 on Old Dominion on April 13. The defense allowed the lead to slip away late in the game, but the Pirates were able to respond at the plate and the pitching staff held back Southern Miss' offense when it counted in extra innings.
Drew Reynolds and Zach Houchins entered Wednesday's game with not only the team's best batting averages, but also two of the best averages in the league. However, they didn't have the impact one would expect. The duo combined for one hit in 10 at bats. Other talented hitters like Harman and Luke Lowery that stepped up to fill the void.
The next stop on ECU's quest for C-USA gold is UTSA at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Pirates took two of three against the Roadrunners in their last series of the season.