No. 24 ECU Takes Series At UConn, 4-3 And 11-9

ECU loses in elimination game, Pirates end season 40-22 (Image 1)

STORRS, Conn. (ECU Media Relations) – No. 24 East Carolina won its second-straight series over UCONN with a 4-3 resumption win of game one and an 11-9 victory in game two Saturday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. With the wins the Pirates improve to 29-16-1 overall and 10-6-1 in American Athletic Conference action, while the Huskies fall to 24-21 on the season and 8-8 in league action.

Game 1 Recap:

Matt Bridges (1-0) picked up his first career win tossing one inning of relief with one walk in the Pirates 4-3 victory. After Evan Kruczynski tossed six scoreless frames with eight strikeouts, one walk and scattering four hits, Bridges took the hill when the game resumed Saturday afternoon. The righty got a pair of fly outs and a ground out before turning the game over to Sam Lanier, who worked one inning allowing two runs (both earned) on two walks and struck out three. Joe Ingle notched his 10th save giving up one run (earned) on one hit with three punch-outs in one inning.

Patrick Ruotolo (1-1) took the loss surrendering two runs (both earned) on one hits with a walk and strikeout in one inning. Starter Anthony Kay matched Kruczynski tossing six scoreless frames with eight strikeouts and scattered five hits. CJ. Dandeneau (1.1 IP, 2 Rs), Joe Rivera (0.0 IP, 1 BB) and P.J. Poulin (0.2 IP) worked the final two innings.

ECU pounded out eight hits getting two from Eric Tyler and one from six other Pirates. Bryce Harman drove in the winning run on a sac fly in the ninth inning, while Kirk Morgan and Charlie Yorgen each added an RBI.

UCONN mustered just five hits that accounted for its three runs. Bryan Daniello’s bases clearing double in the ninth pulled the Huskies within one, 4-3. John Toppa led the Huskies with two hits and scored one run.

How It Happened:

In a scoreless tie, ECU pushed across a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth innings taking a 4-0 lead. With Jeff Nelson standing on second and Harman on first, Parker Lamm dropped a bunt down right in front of Ruotolo, who air-mailed a throw to first out of reach of Aaron Hill covering first. Nelson scored on the play and Harman moved over to third. Yorgen pushed across Harman on a fielder’s choice sac bunt for a 2-0 ball game.

Kirk Morgan’s pinch-hit RBI double scored Garrett Brooks from first base for the Pirates third run. Brady Lloyd entered the game to pinch run for Morgan and immediately stole third base to move 90-feet away from home. Nelson followed with a walk and Harman lifted a full-count offering from Rivera to deep right field allowing Lloyd to cross home.

UCONN pulled within one, 4-3, in the bottom half of the ninth inning. Lanier walked the first two batters he faced in Toppa and Bobby Melley before Ingle took the mound. Ingle walked Willy Yahn to load the bases and Daniello followed with a three-RBI double to right center and took third on the throw in from Nelson. With no outs and a runner on third, Ingle settled in and struck out the next three batters (Connor Buckley, Zac Susi and Joe DeRoche-Duffin) to preserve the win.

Game 2 Recap:

Chris Holba (3-0) notched the series win in game two allowing one run (earned) with a walk and a strikeout in one inning of work. Ingle registered his league leading 11th save tossing 2.2 scoreless innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts. Starter Jimmy Boyd surrendered five runs (three earned) on five hits with three punch-outs in four innings. Including Holba and Ingle, ECU got work from relief pitchers Bridges (1.0 IP, 1 R) and Lanier (0.1 IP, 2 Rs).

Randy Polonia (3-3) struggled for the second time this season against the Pirates allowing five runs (all earned) on two hits in one-third of an inning. In the series opener back in Greenville on April 23rd, he walked Tyler with the bases loaded giving ECU a 2-1 extra inning win. Starter Tim Cate was touched for five runs (all earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out seven in six innings. The Huskies also got outings from Doug Domnarski (1.0 IP, 1 R), Devin Over (0.2 IP, 1BB) and Jack Riley (1.0 IP, 1 H).

ECU pounded out 11 hits getting three from Dwanya Williams-Sutton, who belted his third home run of the season and scored four runs. Turner Brown added a pair of hits and drove in two runs along with Nelson and Travis Watkins. In all, seven different starters drove in a run, while seven scored at least once.

Hill led the Huskies with three hits, while Yahn added a pair to account for five of UCONN’s nine hits. Jack Sunburg (grand slam) and Yahn each drove in four runs, while DeRoche-Duffin had a run-scoring double in the seventh.

How It Happened:

Trailing 6-4 after the fifth frame, ECU scored seven runs over the next three innings to claim the series win. Brown had an RBI single in the sixth that scored Tyler pulling the Pirates within one, 6-5.

The Pirates took a 10-5 lead in the seventh using three hits and a Husky error. Williams-Sutton scored the first run on a throwing error by Susi to Yahn at third trying to back-pick the runner on Brooks’ stolen base. Yorgen’s RBI double plated Harman and Watkins’ greeted Domnarski with a two-RBI single that pushed across Lamm and Yorgen. ECU’s final run of the stanza came on Brown’s RBI ground out to short that scored Tyler.

UCONN answered with three in the bottom half of the seventh pulling within one, 10-9. Yahn had a two-RBI double while DeRoche-Duffin added a RBI double.

ECU capped the scoring at 11-9 when Williams-Sutton scored on Harman’s fielder’s choice in the eighth.

Some bad luck in the bottom of the ninth prevented UCONN from a possible come back win. Hill was hit by an Ingle pitch to start the inning. Sundberg, who had reached base three times in the game, struck out on a delayed call by the home plate umpire for the first out. On the same play, Hill started to take second on what he thought was Sundberg’s walk, but Watkins made a heads up play and fired to Harman covering first for the second out. Williams-Sutton’s diving catch in shallow left field off Yahn’s bat gave ECU the win.

Up Next:

ECU will look to complete the series sweep over UCONN when it takes the field Sunday, May 8. First pitch has been moved up to 11:30 a.m. (ET).

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