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Bless our hearts as Edmund Burke quoted: The only thing necessary for the triump of evil is for good men(and women) to...

High-scoring Game 1 goes to Pirates

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East Carolina's Jake Washer slides in for a run against UCF at Clark-LeClair Stadium. March 22, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, March 22, 2019

Typically, a starting pitcher does not like bullpen activity early in a baseball game, but Jake Agnos provided an exception to the rule Friday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Agnos jogged out of the East Carolina dugout and to the home bullpen twice during the first three innings to stay loose while his offense was busy reaching the double-digit mark in runs, and from there, ECU held off a home run-filled UCF comeback attempt for the Pirates to win 13-8.

No. 14 ECU held leads of 10-1 and 11-3 during the middle portion of the game between teams with big American Athletic Conference aspirations.

ECU (16-6) was the league preseason favorite, and it won the series opener against a UCF team (15-7) that came into the weekend with the best RPI among AAC clubs.

The Pirates were in control early thanks to Spencer Brickhouse hitting a two-run double in the bottom of the first and also an RBI single in the second to score Lane Hoover for a 6-1 cushion. Four more Pirate runs in the third, featuring a two-run single by Ryder Giles and consecutive run-scoring base hits with two outs by Bryant Packard and Hoover, made it 10-1.

“We ended up barreling up a lot balls tonight,” Hoover said. “That was good, and we have to push that over to tomorrow.”

The teams posted 27 combined hits. UCF led the way with 14, but the Pirates saw Dusty Baker hit his first-career homer and Brickhouse leg out a triple in the bottom of the eighth for the 13-8 score.

Alec Burleson (2-0) pitched two key scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts. Agnos gave up six runs in 4.1 innings, and it was Giles who pitched the ninth to complete the win.

The Pirates finished with nine two-out RBIs.

They rouged up fifth-year senior starter Chris Williams, whose season ERA rose to 7.20 in giving up 10 runs on nine hits in three innings.

“They are really good offensively, and when we made mistakes defensively or on the mound, they made us pay for it, but it was good for our offense to have a really good approach against a really good arm,” Pirate coach Cliff Godwin said.

Packard, Hoover and Brickhouse hit 1-2-3 in the batting order, finishing 7-for-13 combined with six runs scored and eight RBIs. Brickhouse was 3-for-5 with a double, triple and four RBIs.

ECU scored in each of the first four innings to build an 11-3 lead.

Agnos yielded six runs on seven hits. He struck out nine Knights and walked four in his 89-pitch outing.

“It was a good learning experience for him, but if you are not going to pitch your best then it is good when your offense is rolling,” Godwin said.

The game featured a heated exchange of words between Godwin and UCF third-base coach Ryan Klosterman after Matthew Mika’s home run in the fifth. Mika carried his bat on the trot to first base and flipped it into the air.

“I talked to him when he got on first a couple of innings later and he didn’t mean anything by it and he was apologizing and was pretty cool,” said Burleson, who was playing first base when the bat flip occurred.

After an error-free weekend by the Pirates last week at Maryland, ECU was charged with three errors on Friday.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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