American Athletic Conference Most Outstanding Player Spencer Brickhouse collected a pair of hits, while Jake Agnos set a new Championship Game record with nine strikeouts helping No. 15 ECU to a 4-3 win over No. 22 Connecticut Saturday afternoon in the 2018 AAC Baseball Championship Game. With the win the Pirates (43-16) secure the leagues automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Regionals while the Huskies fall to 35-20-1.
How It Happened:
ECU scored three runs in the fifth frame to take a 3-0 lead. Turner Brown lead off the frame with a walk and moved into scoring position on a stolen base. Bryant Packard followed with a ground out that allowed Brown to take third base. Dwanya Williams-Sutton was hit by a pitch setting up Brickhouse’s RBI single to right field pushing home Brown for the game’s first run. Jake Washer laced an RBI single to left field plating Williams-Sutton and Andrew Henrickson single to center scoring Brickhouse. UCONN answered with two in the top of the sixth pulling within one, 3-2. Chris Winkel singled to right field plating Troy Stefanski and two batters later Conor Moriarty’s sac fly to center allowed Michael Woodworth to score. But ECU got a run back in the home half of the frame extending its lead to two, 4-2. Brady Lloyd singled to start the frame, stole second and moved to third on Alec Burleson’s ground out. Brown’s sac fly to left field allowed Lloyd to stroll home for the would-be game-winning run. The Huskies pushed across a run in the eighth on Chris Fedko’s RBI double capping the scoring at 4-3 on the day.
Ryan Ross (3-4) picked up the win in relief allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits with one walk in one inning. Agnos, who got the start, tossed four scoreless frames allowing six hits and struck out an AAC Championship Game-best and season-high nine batters. Trey Benton tossed two innings where he gave up a run (earned) on a walk with two strikeouts, while Davis Kirkpatrick tossed two scoreless frames recording a pair of strikeouts for his third save of the season.
Trevor Holmes (0-2) suffered the loss allowing one run (earned) on four hits with three walks in a career-high 4.1 innings. UCONN used four arms out of the pen getting outings from CJ Dandeneau (1.1 IP, 4 Hs, 3 Rs), Tim Cate (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB), Joe Simeone (1.0 IP, 1 BB) and P.J. Poulin (1.0 IP, 1 K).
The Pirate trio of Henrickson, Brickhouse and Packard each recorded two hits – six of the teams nine on the day. Lloyd, Washer and Williams-Sutton also added base knocks in the contest. Brickhouse, Brown, Henrickson and Washer all registered RBI, while Brickhouse, Brown, Lloyd and Williams-Sutton scored runs.
Things To Know:
- The title was the second for the Pirates in The American (2-1 record in championships) …
- Brickhouse was named Most Outstanding Player after batting .500 (10-for-20) with five RBI and six runs scored …
- Joining Brickhouse on the all-tournament team were Brown, Henrickson and Kuchmaner …
- Agnos struck out an AAC Championship Game best nine batters …
- ECU finished the 2018 AAC Championships with a 4-1 record and in four-years have tallied an 11-4 ledger …
The Pirates will return to Greenville late Sunday evening and will host a NCAA Selection Show Watch Party at Mellow Mushroom (Greenville Blvd.) on Monday, May 28 when the 2018 NCAA Field of 64 is announced. Pirate fans are encouraged to show up around 11:30 a.m. before the show begins at 12 noon.