ECU Wins Weekend Series, Share of First Place
The East Carolina baseball team once again leaned on strong starting pitching and an aggressive approach at the plate to clinch a 5-2 victory in Sunday’s rubber match against Connecticut. Sophomore southpaw Jacob Wolfe scattered three hits across seven innings and allowed just two runs, Meanwhile, his fellow classmates, Bryce Harman and Charlie Yorgen, each belted first-pitch home runs to add to the festive atmosphere that featured an announced attendance of 3,012 at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The Pirates (31-18, 11-7 American) entered Sunday's action tied with Houston for first place in the American Athletic Conference standings. ECU will travel down to Texas this weekend for a three-game series with the Cougars that could decide who wins the regular season conference title. “It’s a great feeling going into next weekend,” Harman said. “We’ve just got to keep on winning, keep playing our baseball and good things will happen. That’s all we’ve got to do.” Godwin added, “We’re playing for a championship … I’m proud of the guys. They deserve to be in this moment.” UConn (29-20, 8-10 American) starter Jordan Tabakman got off to an ominous start when the first batter he faced, Hunter Allen, lined a comebacker off of his leg for a hit. Tabakman stayed down for a few minutes, then stayed in the game after tossing a handful of warm-up pitches. But on the first pitch of his next at-bat, Yorgen got all of it — gulfing a two-run blast over the right-field fence for his third home run of the season. The Huskies shortly drew even on Aaron Hill’s two-run single in the top of the second inning with the bases loaded. But in the bottom of the frame, Harman put the Pirates in front for good, taking the first pitch he saw deep with his second home run in as many days (sixth of the season) to break the tie, 3-2. “The last time when we faced them, I thought we took some strikes because they tried to attack us with fast balls,” first-year ECU coach Cliff Godwin said. “So today, going in, we were looking to be aggressive early in the count.” Later in the game, catcher Travis Watkins played a hand in adding both of ECU’s insurance runs. In the sixth inning, he supplied an RBI single to plate Reid Love and, despite stumbling slightly after tagging up, slid into home plate safely on Eric Tyler’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. One inning prior to the sac-fly, the Pirates spoiled a bases-loaded chance with no outs by striking out twice and popping up in the infield. That missed opportunity could have came back to bite the Pirates when reliever Joe Ingle issued a walk and a hit-by-pitch in the ninth. But after a quick mound visit from Godwin, Ingle dialed in and recorded the final two outs. “That’s the easiest ninth inning we’ve had in a long time,” said Godwin, referencing the Pirates’ streak of seven wins, each of which were decided by one run. The Pirates will have Monday and Tuesday off to complete final exams, according to Godwin. They will practice on Wednesday, lift weights and travel to Houston on Thursday, which all leads up to series opener on Friday night.
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