HOUSTON, Texas – Fourteenth-ranked Houston scored four runs in the sixth inning erasing a one-run deficit and went on to complete the American Athletic Conference sweep of East Carolina, 9-6, Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park. With the win, the Cougars improve to 23-8 overall and 4-2 in league play while the Pirates fall to 18-15 on the season and 0-6 in conference play.
Fred Villarreal (1-0) picked up the win in relief allowing one hit with two strikeouts over 4.2 innings, which included retiring the final 13 batters he faced. Starter John King surrendered six runs (all earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
Matt Bridges (0-2) took the loss allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits with a career-high five walks and one strikeout. Starter Tyler Smith allowed three runs (all earned) on four hits in two-plus innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen. ECU got relief outings from Sam Lanier (1.2 IP, 2 Rs), Jake Agnos (0.2 IP, 1 H), Jacob Wolfe (2.0 IP, 1 K).
Connor Hollis lead the Cougars 11-hit attack going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Corey Julks and Jake Scheiner each added two base knocks, while Scheiner drove in three runs and Julks two. Grayson Padgett plated a pair of runs and Joe Davis hit his third home run of the weekend.
Travis Watkins had a team-best two hits while driving in one and scoring a run. Luke Bolka belted a three-run homer, his fourth of the season and Eric Tyler extended his on-base streak to 19 games with his double in the fifth inning.
How It Happened:
Trailing 6-5 heading to the bottom of the sixth, Houston scored four runs to take a 9-6 lead. Scheiner’s two-RBI single through the left side scored Hollis and Padgett. Julks followed with a two-run triple down the right field line pushing across Davis and Scheinder for a three-run advantage.
Bolka gave the Pirates an early 3-0 lead in the second inning smacking his fourth home run of the season. With one out, Jake Washer and Wes Phillips each singled through the left side before Bolka deposited a 1-2 offering from King over the left-centerfield wall.
Houston responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the second pulling within one, 3-2. Schneier belted his league-leading 11th home run (solo shot) to start the frame. With two outs and runners on first and second, Hollis singled to right field scoring Jared Triolo from second before Lael Lockhart was thrown out at third.
Watkins’ RBI double and Washer’s RBI sac fly extended the Pirates lead to three, 5-2, in the third inning. Charlie Yorgen doubled to start the inning and came home on Watkins’ eight two-base hit of the season. Turner Brown moved Watkins over to third on a sac bunt before Jake Washer lifted a King pitch to center easily plating Watkins.
The Cougars plated two runs in the bottom of the third cutting the Pirates lead to one, 5-4. Wong was hit by a Smith pitch before being replaced by Lanier on the bump then took third on a failed pickoff attempt by Lanier. Padgett sent a fly ball to center scoring Wong. Davis stepped to the plate next and belted his third homer of the series (fourth of the season) making it a one run game.
Tyler put ECU up 6-5 in the top of the fifth after scoring on a Wong passed ball. Tyler led off the frame with a double down the left field line and stole his fifth base of the season with one out to move to third before crossing home.
ECU will be back in action on Tuesday, April 11 when it plays host to instate foe UNC Wilmington at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (ET).