Reid Love tossed his second complete game of the season (fifth career) and drove in a pair of runs helping East Carolina (30-18, 10-7) to a 5-4 American Athletic Conference win over UConn (29-18, 8-9) Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Love (5-3) allowed four runs (all earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts picking up his fourth quality start of the season. The lefty, who notched his third AAC win, induced 17 groundouts and six fly outs to go along with his four strikeouts.
Anthony Kay (6-5) took the loss surrendering five runs (three earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and a pair of walks in seven innings of work. Trevor Holmes tossed a scoreless eighth giving up a hit and walking one.
After collecting just five hits in the series opener, ECU produced nine on the day getting multiple hits from Hunter Allen (3), Love (2) and Eric Tyler (2). Bryce Harman and Parker Lamm each chipped in with a hit. Love drove in a team-high two runs, while Allen and Harman added run-producing hits.
Bobby Melley, who had three hits in the opener, led the Huskies with four base knocks, while Vinny Siena drove in a game-high three runs coming on his three-run homer in the ninth.
ECU and UConn will play the rubber-match of the series Sunday, May 3 with a scheduled 12:30 p.m. (ET) first pitch … The start time was moved up 30 minutes to help accommodate the Huskies travel plans later in the afternoon.
How It Happened:
ECU scored runs in the first and second inning to take an early 2-0 lead. With one out and runners on first and second in the first frame, Kirk Morgan reached on a fielder’s choice to first where Melley tried to turn a double play. But a high throw hit Love in the back as he moved over to second caroming into centerfield and easily allowing Charlie Yorgen to score from second for the game first run.
Allen drove in the Pirates second run of the game in the second inning plating Watkins for a 2-0 advantage. Watkins reached on a walk and took second on Tyler’s single through the right side. Both Watkins and Tyler moved up on failed pickoff attempt by Kay and Allen singled up the middle pushing across Watkins.
UConn broke through in the top of the third on Blake Davey’s sac fly pulling the Huskies within one, 2-1. Siena walked with one out and took third on Melley’s single to right center before darting home on Davey’s fly ball to center.
Harman sparked the Pirates three-run fifth belting a solo home run off the scoreboard in right center to start the stanza. Lamm and Allen followed with consecutive singles and Yorgen’s sac bunt pushed both runners into scoring position. With the bases loaded and the infield playing in, Love poked a single over the second baseman’s head scoring Lamm and Allen making it a four-run game, 5-1.
Trailing by four runs going to the ninth, UConn made things interesting pushing across three runs on three hits, but couldn’t complete the comeback falling 5-4. Willy Yan and Aaron Hill laced back-to-back singles before Love retired Connor Buckley (pinch hitter) on a fly out and Jack Sundberg on a grounder to second that moved the runners up 90 feet. Siena stepped to the plate and sent a 3-1 belt-high fastball over the left field wall pulling the Huskies within one, 5-4. Love got Melley to ground out to Yorgen at short capping off his second complete game of the season and evening the weekend series at one-all.
Game Notes/ Inside the Box Score:
Both teams tallied a pair of two out hits with ECU pushing its season total to 143 … UConn left eight runners on base compared to seven for ECU … The leadoff hitter reached base three times for both clubs … Love tossed his fifth career complete game … The trio of Allen, Love and Tyler each extended their season total multi-hit games to 12, while Love picked up his fourth multi-RBI game of the year … Harman belted his fourth home run of the season and 11th of his career … Love’s two-RBI single in the fifth pushed across the game-winning run marking his fourth career game-winning RBI (all in 2015) … ECU notched its seventh-straight one-run win and improved to 8-5 in one-run games.