CLEARWATER, Fla. — After falling behind 4-0, East Carolina stormed back to defeat Tulane, 8-5, on the semifinal day of the 2022 TicketSmarter American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship Saturday at BayCare Ballpark.
With the win, East Carolina (41-18) increased its nation-leading win streak to 17 and advanced to the Championship game against Houston on Sunday at noon eastern on ESPNEWS. It will be the Pirates’ fourth trip to the Championship game (2-1 in finals).
A ninth-inning 3-run home run by Anthony Tulimero propelled Houston to a 9-6 win over UCF to advance to the title game. UCF forced the deciding game after winning 9-8 in 10 innings earlier in the day.
With the win, Houston (37-23) will face East Carolina in the Championship game on Sunday, May 29 at noon Eastern on ESPNEWS.
The Green Wave (33-26-1) struck early as Bennett Lee and Luis Aviles hit back-to-back home runs to start off the game. Brady Herbert singled home Teo Banks to make it 3-0 in the first, while Brennan Lambert hit his second home run of the season in the second to give Tulane a 4-0 lead.
East Carolina got on the board in the third as Zach Agnos hit his seventh home run of the season and the Pirates tied the game in the fourth with three runs, including RBI hits by Josh Moylan and Joey Berini. Ben Newton gave East Carolina the lead with a 2-run double in the fifth.
Jacob Jenkins-Cowart made an incredible diving catch in right field to end the top of the seventh and then stepped up and hit a deep 2-run home run to right in the bottom of the inning to extend ECU’s lead to 8-4.
The Green Wave loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Aviles lined out to third before Banks walked to score Gavin Schulz. Garrett Saylor came on to pitch for ECU and struck out Simon Baumgardt to end the game for his fifth save of the season.
American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year Carter Spivey (7-0) earned the win, pitching 4.1 innings of scoreless relief with four strikeouts. Brian Valigosky took the loss, allowing three runs in two innings of work.
2022 TicketSmarter American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship
Tuesday, May 24
Game 1: No. 4 Cincinnati 8, No. 5 Tulane 1
Game 2: No. 1 East Carolina 7, No. 8 South Florida 1
Game 3: No. 7 Memphis 7, No. 2 UCF 6
Game 4: No. 3 Houston 10, No. 6 Wichita State 7
Wednesday, May 25
Game 5: Tulane 9, South Florida 6 (South Florida eliminated)
Game 6: UCF 12, Wichita State 4 (Wichita State eliminated)
Thursday, May 26
Game 7: East Carolina 15, Cincinnati 5 (7 innings)
Game 8: Houston 8, Memphis 7
Friday, May 27
Game 9: Tulane 13, Cincinnati 5 (Cincinnati eliminated)
Game 10: UCF 15, Memphis 2 (7 innings – Memphis eliminated)
Saturday, May 28
Game 11: East Carolina 8, Tulane 5 (Tulane eliminated)
Game 12: UCF 9, Houston 8 (10 innings)
Game 14: Houston 9, UCF 6 (UCF eliminated)
Sunday, May 29
Game 15: Houston vs. East Carolina | Noon | ESPNEWS