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Pirate comeback to clinch?

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East Carolina's Dwanya Williams-Sutton, left, scored the go-ahead run during the eighth inning on a wild pitch Wednesday against Tulane in Clearwater, Fla.


The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A gutsy and wild comeback Wednesday afternoon for East Carolina at the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament in Clearwater, Fla., might have assured that the Pirates will be smiling Sunday night when the 16 NCAA regional hosts are announced.

ECU advanced to the AAC semifinals in dramatic fashion in dropping upset-minded Tulane to the losers’ bracket with a five-run rally in the top of the eighth inning for a 6-5 win. The comeback victory was part of the AAC’s use of two fields to play six games Wednesday ahead of heavy rain expected later in the week.

The updated scheduled calls for ECU (41-15) to play its semifinal contest against the Tulane-Houston winner at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.

ECU mainly struggled for hard contact against Green Wave junior right-handed starter Kaleb Roper, who struck out a career-high 11 batters in 7 2/3 innings, but the Pirates rallied against Roper and Ben White, and they scored four of their five runs in the eighth with two outs.

It was 4-2 Tulane (25-32) when ECU got a two-out RBI single by Bryant Packard. Spencer Brickhouse’s RBI single tied it, and Dwanya Williams-Sutton raced home on a wild pitch and dove head-first into the plate barely ahead of the tag for a 5-4 edge.

Williams-Sutton’s run created the Pirates’ first lead of the game.

Jake Washer provided the final RBI base hit, scoring Brickhouse to make it 6-4.

Roper left the mound when his club was leading 4-3 and he ended up being charged with five runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings.

The Wave was in position to win behind Roper’s dominant pitching for seven innings and a pair of two-run home runs by Grant Witherspoon, whose second shot to right field in the bottom of the seventh gave Tulane a 4-1 cushion. Tulane upset league champion Houston on Day 1 of the tournament and was looking to make a clean and surprise trip to the semifinals.

East Carolina’s RPI ranking improved to No. 12 briefly Tuesday after beating Central Florida and was back to 13th Wednesday. Its win total and RPI has it in position to host a regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium for the second time in school history and first since 2009.

Trey Benton entered the game in a tough spot with the Wave leading 2-1 and the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the fifth. He struck out Trevor Jensen, the No. 3 hitter in Tulane’s batting order, and induced a 4-3 groundout to keep it a 2-1 deficit.

Pirate starter Alec Burleson pitched 4 1/3 innings and yielded two runs on two hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Benton went 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

ECU used six pitchers, including previously-injured Evan Voliva making his second appearance of the season and getting his second pitching victory by getting the final two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Agnos recorded his first save when he pitched the final two innings and gave up one run — in the eighth — on one hit with three strikeouts, no walks and a wild pitch.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


November 16, 2018

East Carolina’s basketball team scrimmaged Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Wake Forest and N.C. State during the preseason.

Tonight’s game at ACC member Georgia Tech will count toward the Pirates’ win-loss record.

ECU (2-1), which has one win ever against an ACC team when it…


November 15, 2018

Coaches Scottie Montgomery and Randy Edsall sound similar at this point in the college football season.

Montgomery and the Pirates will be looking to stop a five-game losing streak when 1-9 Connecticut visits Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday. ECU is 2-7 this year, giving…

SMU UConn Football

November 15, 2018

Two important elements to Saturday night’s East Carolina football game are that the struggling Pirates (2-7) are favored against Connecticut (1-9), and that it is senior day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

ECU has been the underdog in all but two games this season. It was nearly a two-touchdown…


November 14, 2018

With East Carolina football still seeking its first American Athletic Conference win of the season and many fans in Pirate Nation upset with the results by third-year coach Scottie Montgomery and the Pirates, ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying that an…


November 14, 2018

The score was tied only briefly Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum for women’s basketball action.

East Carolina and Grand Canyon were deadlocked, 24-24, for exactly 12 seconds before ECU produced a game-changing rally late in the second quarter and the Pirates stayed in front the rest of the…


November 14, 2018


The first day of the recruiting early signing period saw Joe Dooley and East Carolina basketball sign three guards on Wednesday in Logan Curtis, Tyrie Jackson and Tremont Robinson.

Jackson is a transfer from Northwest Florida State College and Robinson is currently attending Garden…


November 14, 2018

Four football teams are still in contention in the American Athletic Conference West Division, while the East champion will be decided this weekend.

SMU, Houston and Tulane are in a three-way tie in the West at 4-2. Memphis is one game back at 3-3. Houston and Tulane meet Thursday night, while SMU…

SMU UConn Football-6

November 14, 2018

With his ability to duck past defenders, lean into the post and find both sides of the rim for baskets, freshman Jayden Gardner is a breath of fresh air for the East Carolina basketball team.

After glimpses of promise but poor shooting in the team’s first two games this season, Gardner…


November 13, 2018

Usual backup Darius Pinnix is first on the East Carolina depth chart at running back this week, and there is optimism that he could provide the jolt desperately needed for the Pirate run game Saturday versus lowly Connecticut.

Such a conventional breakthrough also is not guaranteed, which is why…


November 12, 2018

East Carolina basketball player Jayden Gardner was named the American Athletic Conference men’s basketball freshman of the week on Monday.

In three games last week, Gardner averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 26 minutes and connected on 45.5 percent of his field goal attempts (10-of-22)…

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