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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.

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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.

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ECU

February 15, 2019

A total of 21 runs by East Carolina powered the Pirates to a college baseball opening day sweep of Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.

Spencer Brickhouse’s go-ahead, two-run home run keyed a 6-2 win, then ECU used a 16-hit barrage for a 15-9 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader…

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February 15, 2019

CATCHER

Jake Washer, junior: Washer is back as East Carolina’s starting catcher after receiving Major League Baseball draft interest following his breakout sophomore season. In addition to showing power with six home runs and 40 RBIs a year ago, Washer posted a smooth .287 batting average.…

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February 15, 2019

Equipped with All-American Bryant Packard ready to serve again as East Carolina’s leadoff man in the batting order and a stable of proven pitchers who battled during the preseason for lead rotation spots, ECU is ready to face an opponent and begin a new season.

Radford’s visit to Clark-…

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February 15, 2019

WEEKEND ROTATION

FRIDAY

Alec Burleson, sophomore: Burleson will be a frequent player at designated hitter and first base in the lineup, but his main focus in the season opener versus Radford will be on the pitcher’s mound. The left-hander, who was the American Athletic Conference rookie…

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February 15, 2019

One of baseball’s many adages is that good teams need to be strong “up the middle,” a reference that focuses on important defensive positions from catcher to middle infielders at shortstop and second base and then into the outfield with a center fielder.

This East Carolina team is…

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s 64-54 women’s basketball win at SMU on Thursday night gave the Pirates consecutive victories for the first time since December.

The Pirates (13-11, 4-7 American) had four double-figure scores, led by Raven Johnson’s 18 points and five rebounds. She was 2-of-4 from…

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s baseball season will begin Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and from there the series schedule versus Radford will be fluid.

Changes were made Thursday morning to the weekend schedule because of expected rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Revised Weekend…

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February 13, 2019

Joe Dooley has warned about these funks, especially on the offensive end, that East Carolina’s basketball team has been prone to lately.

It happened again Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum when the Pirates were plenty competitive against a more talented Memphis team, but the Tigers pulled…

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February 13, 2019

Dorthea Forbrigd shot a career-low 54-hole score of 209 (7-under-par) to claim a share of first place at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic this week.

It marked the third time in the career for Forbrigd, a junior, that she finished tied for first in a collegiate event. The Oslo, Norway, native led…

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February 12, 2019

East Carolina baseball has four left-handed pitchers and two of them, Alec Burleson and Jake Agnos, are set to be the Pirates’ first two starting pitchers of the season.

They will go about their starts in different ways, naturally, versus Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium. 

Burleson, a…

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