CINCINNATI – Landon Ginn tossed a career-best three innings retiring all nine batters he faced, while Thomas Francisco drove in three runs to lift No. 11 East Carolina to a 5-2 series-clinching win over Cincinnati Sunday afternoon at UC Stadium in American Athletic Conference action.
The Pirates improve to 36-11 overall and 18-6 in league play and the Bearcats fall to 25-24 and 14-14.
With the game knotted at two-all going to the fifth frame, ECU scored a run taking a 3-2 advantage and held on for seventh-year Cliff Godwin’s 250th career win. Ryder Giles doubled down the right field line to start the stanza and moved to third on Connor Norby’s single through the right side putting runners on the corners. Francisco sent a 2-2 offering from Jalen Wade to right field pushing across Giles on the sac fly.
Ginn (1-0) earned his first collegiate win tossing three perfect frames of relief with a pair of strikeouts. C.J. Mayhue earned his second save of the weekend and eighth of the season working two shutout frames with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Cam Colmore got the start on a bullpen day allowing a hit and striking out one in his inning on the bump. The Pirates also got outings from Josh Grosz (1.0 IP, 1 BB), Jake Kuchmaner (0.1 IP, 2 Rs), and Danny Beal (1.2 IP).
Wade (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season giving up three runs (all earned) on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Beau Keathly was touched for a pair of runs (both earned) on two hits with two walks and a pair of punch outs, while Dean McCarthy gave up a hit and struck out one in one-third of an inning.
Bryson Worrell’s sixth home run of the season staked ECU to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. Zach Agnos walked to get things going and came around to score on Worrell’s blast to right field.
Cincinnati answered with two runs in the third tying the game at two. Griffin Merritt belted his team-leading ninth home run, a solo shot to left center, to start the stanza. Colin Harting followed with a walk and too second on a wild pitch before moving to third on Jace Mercer’s fly out to center. Joey Bellini singled through the left side plating Harting.
Francisco added a pair of insurance runs for the Pirates in the ninth inning, 5-2. With two away, Alec Makarewicz drew a walk and was lifted for Ryley Johnson as a pinch runner. Giles picked up his second hit of the day with an infield single to short, which was followed by Norby’s third base knock of the contest – also an infield single to short – loading the bases. Francisco laced a double down the left field line scoring Johnson and Giles for a two-run advantage.
For the fourth game of the series, the Pirates tallied double-digit hits pounding out 10 on the day. Norby led the way going 3-for-5 and in the second inning extended his on-base streak to a nation-leading 54 games. Giles also had multiple hits with his pair, while five others recorded one each. Francisco drove in a game-high three runs and Giles scored twice.
ECU will hit the road for the final regular season weekend series when it travels to USF. First pitch of the four-game set is slated for Thursday, May 27 at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be streamed on ESPN+.