ECU baseball earns split with UCF, drops first league game of season

ECU Pirates

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Ben McCabe drove in five runs while Kenny Serwa worked 6.1 innings in his start helping UCF to a 10-5 win over No. 9 East Carolina in game two of an American Athletic Conference doubleheader Friday at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

With the win the Knights improve to 18-20 on the season and 8-6 in league play while the Pirates drop to 27-6 and 9-1.

UCF jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first three innings getting it started with an RBI single in the first by Tom Josten that scored Andrew Brait for a 1-0 advantage. Pablo Ruiz scored on a wild pitch in the second extended the lead to two, 2-0. Alex Freeland’s RBI ground out in the third pushed across Jordan Rathbone and McCabe followed with a two-RBI single for a five-run advantage going to the bottom of the third.

Serwa (2-2) picked up the win allowing five runs (all earned) on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts in his outing. Hunter Patteson recorded his first save of the season where he walked one in 2.2 scoreless frames of relief.

Garrett Saylor (3-1) suffered the loss giving up five runs (all earned) on four hits with a walk and two punchouts in 2.1 innings. ECU would use five arms out of the bullpen getting work from Carter Spivey (2.2 IP, 1 R, 2 Ks), Josh Grosz (1.1 IP, 2 Rs, 1 K), A.J. Wilson (0.2 IP, 1 R, 1 K), Landon Ginn (1.1 IP, 1 R, 1 K) and Nick Logusch (0.2 IP).

ECU finally scratched across a couple of runs in the third pulling within three, 5-2. Ryder Giles reached with one out when he was hit by a pitch and Connor Norby moved him over to third with a single to right center. Thomas Francisco followed with an RBI double, which extended his on-base streak to 36 games dating back to 2020. Josh Moylan was hit by a pitch putting runners on the corners and Alec Makarewicz’ sac fly allowed Norby to score.

UCF added a run in the fourth pushing its lead to four, 6-2, on Josh Crouch’s RBI single through the left side plating Brait. ECU responded with a run of its own in the home half of the frame on Giles’ RBI hit to left field scoring Lane Hoover cutting the lead back to three, 6-3.

McCabe’s three-run home run in the seventh gave the Knights a 9-3 lead but the Pirates once again responded with a pair of runs making it a 9-5 ball game. Francisco’s RBI double scored Norby and Makarewicz’ RBI single pushed across Francisco.

The Knights capped the scoring at 10-5 with a run in the ninth on Freeland’s sac fly.

Both Francisco and Norby tallied two hits in the contes, while Francisco and Makarewicz each drove in a pair.

Game One Recap
Gavin Williams (5-0) allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts over 6.1 innings helping ECU to a 4-2 series opening win over UCF. The Pirates tallied 11 hits getting three each from Zach Agnos, Francisco and Norby as the Pirates extended their home winning streak to 19 games and current win streak to 10.

The Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to Francisco’s RBI single that plated Norby from second base. Norby extended his on-base streak to 39 games with a single (hit streak to 19) up the middle to begin the stanza and two batters later came around to score on Francisco’s RBI base knock to right-center that pushed his on-base streak to 35 contests.

ECU added two more runs in the second for a 3-0 advantage. Ryder Giles’ sac bunt scored Agnos, who doubled to start the frame and took third on a failed pickoff by Zack Hunsicker at second. Norby’s tenth home run of the season, a blast to left field gave him his 20th multi-hit game of the season.

Francisco’s fifth homer of the year, a solo shot to left field capped the Pirates scoring in the contest at 4-0.

UCF plated a pair of runs in the seventh pulling within two, 4-2. With one out and runners on the corners, Pablo Ruiz grounded out to third scoring Josh Crouch and an RBI base hit by John Montes plated Andrew Brait.

Hunsicker (0-2) took the loss surrendering all four runs (earned) on 10 hits with four punch outs in five innings. Nick Vieira worked an inning of scoreless relief with one walk, while Zack Bennett tosses two scoreless frames giving up a hit and striking out one.

Bridges picked up his first save of the season registering a strikeout in one inning. Colmore allowed a hit and walked one in one-third of a frame, while C.J. Mayhue walked one, struck out one and gave up a hit in 1.1 innings.

ECU and UCF will continue the four-game series Saturday, April 24 with an 11 a.m. (ET) scheduled first pitch and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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