GREENVILLE, N.C. – Evan Kruczynski struck out a season-high eight batters in seven innings of work, while Bryce Harman belted his second home run helping No. 19 East Carolina to a 3-1 win over No. 15 Houston in its American Athletic Conference opener Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 18-8 on the season and 1-0 in league play, while the Cougars drop to 16-9 and 0-1.
Kruczynski (4-0) posted his sixth quality start of the year (16th career) limiting Houston to one run (earned) on nine hits with a walk in his seven frames. The lefty allowed four base knocks in the opening frame, but settled down fanning five of the next seven batters he faced on his way to eight punch outs. Joe Ingle notched his sixth save (14th career) tossing two scoreless frames with a walk and one strikeout.
Andrew Lantrip (4-3) suffered the loss despite pitching his second complete game of the 2016 campaign. The right-hander allowed a three runs (all earned) on a season-high seven hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Coming into the contest, he had allowed just one walk and eight runs over 42.2 innings.
Parker Lamm collected his ninth multi-hit game of the season going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Harman scored two of ECU’s three runs with one coming on his second home run in his last five games. Kirk Morgan extended his hit streak to 10 games with single in the sixth, while Zack Mozingo reached base for the sixth-straight game with a base hit in the fourth.
Justin Montemayor posted a three-hit night and drove in the Cougars lone run, which came in the first inning. Six other players registered one base knock accounting for all nine hits in the contest.
How It Happened:
Lamm broke a one-all tie in the fifth frame plating Harman from third for a 2-1 advantage. Harman reached when he was hit by a pitch and took second on Morgan’s walk. After Turner Brown reached on fielder’s choice that moved Harman to third and forced Morgan out at second, Lamm dropped a bunt towards first base scoring Harman.
Morgan padded the Pirates lead in the sixth with a single through the right side scoring Eric Tyler making it a 3-1 ball game. Tyler, who reached base three times via a fielder’s choice, took second on a throwing error by Connor Wong who was trying to pick him off at first. Harman put runners on first and second with two outs after he was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and Morgan singled home Tyler with a shot to right field. On the play, Harman was gunned down at the plate ending the stanza.
Houston jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to four hits. With Wong on third and Joe Davis standing on first, Montemayor singled to right field scoring Wong.
Harman tied the game at one-all when he led off the third inning with his second homer of the season on a first pitch offering from Lantrip.
ECU had one two-out RBI in the contest pushing its season total to 59 … Kruczynski improved to 12-4 all-time on the mound … Lamm’s RBI single in the fifth was his second game-winner of the season (third career), which happened to come on his birthday … Ingle’s save was his fourth since Mar. 22 and he has not allowed an earned run in his last five games (8.1 innings) … Morgan is the second player this season to have a double-digit hit streak (Lamm had 12-game streak to open the 2016 season) … Harman extended his hit streak to six games with his 16th career homer and has now reached base in 10-straight contests … ECU picked up its third win over a top 15 program this season (two wins at then No. 4 UVA) and is now 3-2.
ECU and Houston will return to action on Saturday, April 2 for game two of the three-game series. Pirate fans can watch all the action live on the American Digit Network starting at 4 p.m. (ET).