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ECU eliminated from C-USA Championships, 3-1

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Cameron Giannini tossed his first career complete game in a 3-1 victory over East Carolina in a Friday night elimination game in the 2014 Conference USA Baseball Championship.

The win sent third-seeded USM (34-24) into a 12:30 p.m.  Saturday showdown at Taylor Park with seventh-seeded UTSA (34-24). The Golden Eagles would have to beat the Roadrunners twice Saturday to advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship game.

USM knocked the sixth-seeded Pirates (33-26) from the tournament in avenging an opening round, 9-8 loss in 11 innings in the last baseball game between the long-time rivals as Conference USA brethren.

In its loss to ECU, the Golden Eagles committed a season-high six errors. In its two, tournament wins over UAB and the Pirates, USM has not committed an error, and Friday night, the Golden Eagles turned four double plays, including three that got Giannini out of the first, second and eighth innings.

Giannini wound up throwing 112 pitches, allowing five hits, while walking three batters and striking out five.

USM had stranded 20 runners in its first two games, and left four more on base through the first three innings Friday.

But the Golden Eagles broke through in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.

Dylan Burdeaux walked and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Austin Roussel’s one-out single to right field sent Burdeaux to third, and on the first pitch after, Roussel stole second.

Michael Gilbert, who had three defensive gems at third base, followed with a single up the middle to score Burdeaux and Roussel, ending the evening of ECU starter David Lucroy (2-6).

USM second baseman Nick Dawson greeted reliever Ryan Williams with a hit-and-run single up the middle that scored Gilbert.

ECU cut it to 3-1 in the fifth when Ian Townsend tripled off the wall in right-center field and scored one out later on Garrett Brooks’ grounder to second base.

But Giannini got out of a runners-on-first-and-third jam with two outs, getting Brooks to ground to first base, and double plays in the final two innings helped doom the Pirates’ cause.

Roussel and Gilbert each had two of USM’s eight hits, while Hunter Allen led ECU with two hits.


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