Ninth Inning Rally Lifts Pirates Past Phoenix

Luke Lowery’s conference-leading seventh home run helped power ECU (12-6) past Elon (8-8) on Saturday, 11-8.

It took late-inning drama and an outburst for the East Carolina baseball team to claim its second consecutive victory over Elon on Saturday.

Carrying a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, ECU senior pitcher Reid Love came into the game hoping to preserve the Pirate victory. Things didn’t go as smoothly Love would have liked. The left-hender squandered the advantage by allowing a three-run home run, courtesy of Elon’s Ryan Cooper.

Fortunately for Love, ECU’s Hunter Allen, Garrett Brooks and Bryce Harman all notched RBI against Elon’s Joe McGillicudy in the visitor’s half of the ninth inning, which permitted Love a chance for redemption.

Love retired the side in the bottom of the ninth inning and helped vault the Pirates to an 11-8 victory, giving him his second win of the season.

In the high scoring affair, ECU (12-6) wasted no time putting runs on the board. Following up his three-hit, one-home run performance during the Pirates’ victory over Elon (8-8) on Friday, slugger Luke Lowery struck once again. This time, he blasted a two-run shot in the second inning of the game, giving the Pirates a 5-0 lead.

Lowery’s second inning long ball came after a three-run top of the first inning in which Harman, Lowery and Kirk Morgan all picked up RBI off of Elon starter Michael Elefante.

The two-out home run came just one half inning before Elon broke through against Pirate starting pitcher Jacob Wolfe. Wolfe finished the game with 6 1/3 innings pitched and allowed five runs on six hits.

The Phoenix cut the early deficit and scored in the bottom of the second inning as Nick Zammarelli and Austin Leeney helped manufacture three runs with their RBI, cutting the lead to 5-3.

Both teams carried the 5-3 score into the sixth inning — just innings before the late-game drama — before ECU extended its lead, thanks to Allen’s opportunistic base running following an Elon wild pitch.

Saturday’s bout saw five ECU batters notch double-digit hits. Harman and Lowery both knocked in three runs in the game as the Pirates earned 14 hits collectively.

The Pirates have a chance to sweep the hosting Phoenix when they return to the diamond Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for the final game of the series.

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