Jake Agnos struck out a career-high 14 batters over a personal-best 8.2 innings and the offense pounded out 14 hits as No. 12 ECU won the American Athletic Conference series opener over No. 18 UConn Thursday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 27-10 on the season and 9-1 in AAC play, while the Huskies fall to 24-14 and 7-6.
Due to potential rain in the forecast on Friday, the two teams will close out the weekend series on Saturday, April 20 with a doubleheader starting at 9 a.m. (ET) and game two following approximately 45 minutes later. Due to conference rules for a doubleheader on a travel day, game one will be a seven-inning affair, while the second contest will be nine innings.
In a Top 20 national matchup that pitted two of the best pitchers in The American, Agnos (5-2) got the best of his fellow USA Baseball (Collegiate National Team) pitching mate out-dueling Mason Feole (1-3). Agnos fanned at least one batter in all eight innings he pitched tallying multiple strikeouts in four frames including the side in the sixth. On the night, he allowed one run (earned) on five hits and walked one batter, which came in the ninth with two outs. Evan Voliva closed out the night facing one batter to secure the Pirates ninth win in league pay.
Feole, the AAC Preseason Pitcher-of-the-Year, was touched for three runs (all earned) on eight hits with four walks and five punch outs in 5.1 innings. Karl Johnson gave up a pair of runs (both earned) on three hits in 1.2 innings, while Chase Gardner allowed a hit and struck out one working the eighth.
ECU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first frame thanks to Alec Burleson’s RBI single. Brady Lloyd singled to center with one out and took second on Turner Brown’s base hit to left field before sprinting home on Burleson’s hot shot back up the middle.
UConn wasted little time in responding when Pat Winkel homered to right-center, knotting the game at one-all in the second.
But ECU regained the lead, 2-1, in the home half of the second on Lloyd’s RBI double. Bryant Packard doubled with two away and came home on Lloyd’s second hit of the game, a two-base knock down the left field line easily plating Packard.
The Pirates extended their lead to two, 3-1, on Lloyd’s third hit in as many at-bats with an RBI single. Lane Hoover drew a one-out walk, took second on the first of three balks in the frame by Feole and strolled home on Lloyd’s base hit to right field.
The Pirates added a run in the seventh on Jake Washer’s infield bunt single that scored Brown and another in the eighth on Packard’s RBI single to right that plated Nick Barber capping the scoring at 5-1.
Lloyd led five Pirates with multiple hits going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Brown, Burleson, Packard and Washer each added a pair of hits, while Burleson, Packard and Washer plated runs. ECU improved to 17-0 when registering 10 or more hits and three of its five runs came with two outs pushing the season total to 93.
Chris Winkel tallied a team-high two hits for the Huskies, while Anthony Prato, Pat Winkel and Michael Woodworth each had one.