Houston downs Pirates in AAC tourney
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, May 24, 2018
A familiar nemesis dealt East Carolina its first loss at the American Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday, as top-seeded Houston broke a tie with two runs in the seventh inning of a 5-3 win over the Pirates in Clearwater, Fla.
On another jam-packed day due to impending bad weather, the fourth-seeded Pirates (41-16) battled back from 3-1 down to tie the game with runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but the Cougars (38-22) stayed alive thanks to Lael Lockhart’s RBI single and Joe Davis’ sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Lockhart (2-for-4) then took the mound to face the Pirates’ final four batters to earn the save.
It was the ninth straight Pirate loss to the Cougars, and they must wake up and play them again Thursday morning at 10 in an elimination game. The day and time for the AAC championship game is still undecided.
ECU is still seeking a win that would likely solidify it as a host in next week’s NCAA regional round.
Pirate head coach Cliff Godwin was ejected for the second time this season after remonstrating with home plate umpire Jim Schaly over balls and strikes.
ECU starter West Covington allowed three runs, but the loss was pinned on Jake Agnos, who was charged with the final two UH tallies in a brief appearance. Joey Pulido earned the win for Houston.
Tyler Bielamowicz belted a two-run single to get Houston rolling in the bottom of the second, but Bryant Packard — who later left the game with an injury while diving for a ball in left field — pulled a run back with his RBI single in the third.
UH upped it to 3-1 on Davis’ RBI single in the bottom of the third, but the Pirates rallied back on Brady Lloyd’s RBI double in the fourth and Andrew Henrickson’s sac fly in the fifth.
The teams had eight hits each, including 2-for-3 days for Burleson (2B) and Turner Brown at the bottom of the Pirates’ batting order, and a double off the bat of Spencer Brickhouse.