STORRS, Conn. – Alex LeFevre’s two-run homer in the fifth inning proved to be the game-winner as Connecticut defeated East Carolina 6-4 Friday afternoon in American Athletic Conference action at J.O. Christian Field. With the win the Huskies claim the weekend series and improve to 31-22 overall and 14-9 in league play. The Pirates fall to 28-27 on the season and 6-17 in conference play and will be the No. 8 seed in the upcoming AAC Tournament.
Wills Montgomerie (6-3) notch the win surrendering three runs (all earned) on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in seven-plus innings. The Huskies used three arms out of the bullpen in Trevor Holmes (0.0 IP, 1 R), P.J. Poulin (0.1 IP, 1 K) and John Russell (1.2 IP, 2 Ks, Save: 14).
Chris Holba (4-2) suffered the loss on an ECU staff day allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with a walk and strikeout. The Pirates used four other pitchers on the day getting outings from Jake Agnos (1.0 IP, 3 Rs), Tyler Smith (1.2 IP, 1 R), Ryan Ross (2.1 IP, 1 K) and Davis Kirkpatrick (1.0 IP).
Travis Watkins led the Pirates going 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and tallied his 25th multi-hit game of the season. Charlie Yorgen added two hits and scored a run for his 23rd multi-hit contest. Turner Brown, Bryce Harman and Andrew Henrickson each drove in runs for ECU on the day.
Connecticut’s first six hitters in the lineup registered a hit with Zac Susi leading the way with two base knocks. Susi also scored a pair of runs and drove in one. LeFreve drove in two on his home run in the fifth, while John Toppa added an RBI in the first frame.
How It Happened
Connecticut jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a pair of RBI base hits by Susi and Toppa. Keith Krugger singled to left to start the game and took second on Anthony Prato’s sac bunt. A passed ball allowed Kruger to take third before scoring on Susi’s ground out. Willy Yahn followed with a double and came around to score on Toppa’s double to right center for a two-run lead.
LeFevre’s two-run homer highlighted a three-run third for Connecticut which extended its lead to 5-0. Prato scored on when Toppa hit into a double play and on the next pitch of the frame, LeFevre homered down the left field line scoring Susi in front of him.
ECU finally got on the board in the fourth on Brown’s RBI ground out making it a 5-1 ball game. Spencer Brickhouse single to start the frame and moved over to third on Watkins’ double to right field. Brown grounded out to short easily plating Brickhouse.
A Smith balk allowed Susi to score in the fifth inning pushing the Huskies lead back to five, 6-1. Susi singled up the middle with one out, moved to second when Yahn was hit by a pitch and took third on Toppa’s fielder’s choice.
The Pirates scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning on one hit cutting the lead to two, 6-4. Dwanya Williams-Sutton was hit by a pitch to start the frame and took third on Yorgen’s single through the right side that chased Montgomerie. Tyler loaded the bases with a walk before Luke Bolka struck out during his pinch-hit appearance. Watkins plated the first run when he was walked scoring Williams-Sutton. Two batters later Henrickson walked pushing across Yorgen and Harman was hit by a pitch that plated Tyler to cap the stanza.
East Carolina and Connecticut will close out the 2017 regular season on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. at J.O. Christian Field.