GREENVILLE, N.C. – Kam Gellinger’s grand slam highlighted a nine-run eighth inning as UCF came from behind to claim an American Athletic Conference series with a 9-4 victory over East Carolina Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Knights improve to 25-11 and 4-4 in league play, while the Pirates fall to 19-17 and 0-8.
Juan Pimental (6-2) notched the win allowing two runs (both earned) on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Jason Bahr gave up a pair of runs (both earned) on two hits with a strikeout in two innings of relief work.
Ryan Ross (0-1) surrendered one run (unearned) on one hit while facing just one batter. Trey Benton allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in a career-best 7.1 innings, which was his fifth quality start of the season. Ryan Ross. ECU used three other pitchers out of the bullpen in West Covington (0.1 IP, 5 Rs), Tyler Smith (0.1 IP, 1 R) and Davis Kirkpatrick (1.0 IP, 1 K).
The Knights managed to record just six hits on the night, but they accounted for seven RBI. Gellinger had a game-high four with his grand slam, while Brennan Bozeman, Luke Hamblin and Kyle Marsh each added RBI base knocks.
Eric Tyler had a game-high four hits which included his fourth home run of the season. With his single in the first inning, he extended his current on-base streak to a personal-best 22 games. Travis Watkins added three hits and drove in a run, while Bryce Harman collected two hits with a two-run home run in the ninth inning.
How It Happened:
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the eighth inning, UCF exploded for nine runs on three hits with two walks, two hit batters and one Pirate error to take their only lead of the night for a 9-2 advantage. Hamblin plated the first run on an infield single, which was followed by Marsh two batters later when he drew a bases loaded walk. Rylan Thomas reached on a fielding error by Charlie Yorgen that allowed a pair of runners to come home. Two more walks loaded the bases for Gellinger, who hit his first home run of the season clearing the bases with a shot over the right field wall.
ECU broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning on Watkins’ RBI single for a 1-0 lead. Harman singled through the right side to start the stanza and Tyler followed with a bunt single down the third base line. With one out, Watkins singled to left field plating Harman from second. On the play, Marsh bobbled the ball allowing Tyler to move to third and Watkins to take second. Turner Brown walked to load the bases before Pimental got Brickhouse to line out to first to end the inning.
Tyler’s fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to left field, extended the Pirates lead to 2-0 in the seventh inning.
Harman’s first home run of the season pulled ECU within five, 9-4. Dusty Baker singled to left field before coming around on Harman’s blast over the right field wall in the bottom of the ninth.
ECU and UCF will close out the three-game conference series on Saturday, April 15 with a 12 noon (ET) scheduled first pitch.