Huskies Roll Pirates in Game 1

GREENVILLE, N.C. — ECU (29-18, 9-7 AAC) allowed 19 hits and committed four errors in a 13-2 loss to UConn (29-18, 8-8 AAC) on Friday night.

The Pirates lacked the sharpness and attention to detail against Connecticut on Friday night that was essential during their six-game wining streak that they held entering the week.

As a result, East Carolina dropped its series opener with the Huskies 13-2 at Clark-LeClair Stadium and has now suffered back-to-back losses with nine games remaining in the regular season.

The ace of the Pirates’ (29-18, 9-7 American) weekend rotation, left-hander Evan Kruczynski, uncharacteristically lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits. In the first inning, the Huskies (29-18, 8-8 American) strung together three straight hits to earn a 2-0 lead and never looked back on their way to 19 hits.

The defense behind Kruczynski (6-3) wasn’t much better than the pitching on Friday night. Three second-inning errors helped prolong a frame that eventually saw UConn scoring three unearned runs on RBI hits by Jack Sundberg and Bobby Melley. The Pirates finished with four errors on Friday.

“We didn’t play well,” first-year ECU coach Cliff Godwin said. “We made more than three errors. I thought it was a bad-play defensive game and (Kruczynski) didn’t pitch great.”

It was 5-0 UConn at that point, which was more than enough run support for Huskies’ starter Carson Cross.

Cross (9-2), who tossed eight innings in a 7-3 loss to ECU on April 17, went eight innings again and permitted just five hits.

“(Cross) was better tonight than he was up there (on April 17),” Godwin said. “In Friday night games, you can’t play bad defensively and pitch poorly — like we did early — and expect to win.”

The Pirates crossed their only two runs of the game in the bottom of the second inning on Travis Watkins’ two-run double. After Kirk Morgan’s third-inning single, ECU was held hitless until a pair of singles in the eighth inning with the score sitting at 11-2.

UConn second baseman Vinny Siena was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, while a trio of Huskies booked three hits on Friday against the Pirates’ six pitchers on Friday.

“It was tough from the get go,” Watkins said. “But the good thing about baseball is that we get to come out here tomorrow … and have a chance to even the series up.”

Game 2 pits ECU southpaw Reid Love against UConn’s Jordan Tabakman on Saturday afternoon. First pitch at Clark-LeClair Stadium is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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