CINCINNATI, Ohio – No. 14 East Carolina pounded out 11 hits and held Cincinnati scoreless over the final six innings in a 9-3 American Athletic Conference victory Friday evening at the UC Baseball Stadium.

The Pirates (32-14, 10-6 AAC) defeated the Bearcats (20-25, 8-8 AAC) for the fourth time this season and extended their winning streak in the series to 10 games.

Luke Nowak drove in a game-high three runs thanks in large part to a pair of triples while Justin Wilcoxen rapped out three hits, scored two runs and accounted for two RBI. Alec Makarewicz also enjoyed a solid outing, notching a home run and triple to finish with a pair of RBI. Josh Hegemann and Cole Harting collected two hits for the homestanding Cincinnati club.

Jake Hunter (4-2) was credited with the win in relief, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings and scattering two hits while striking out five. Danny Beal tossed the final 3.1 frames, racking up five strikeouts and yielding just one hit. Garrett Harker (0-5) suffered the loss as he surrendered four runs (three earned) on five hits in 4.0 innings.

A bit of two-out magic propelled East Carolina to an early advantage. Josh Moylan sparked the rally with a double to right center before Jacob Jenkins-Cowart drew a walk on a full count. Nowak then split the gap in right center, sprinting all the way to third for a two-run triple and a 2-0 Pirate lead. Wilcoxen was able to work another walk to put runners on the corners, but a fly ball to left ended the frame.

ECU continued its offensive work in the top of the second as Makarewicz ripped a one-out triple over Hegemann’s head in center field before scoring on a two-out fielding error by Griffin Hugus at short, extending the Pirate edge to 3-0.

Cincinnati produced a triple of its own off the bat of Hegemann with one away in the home half of the second and he would score on a Harting infield single to cut the East Carolina lead to two. The Bearcats weren’t done though as Tommy O’Connor turned on a first pitch offering and launched it 468 feet to right field to knot the score at three. The deadlock did not last long, however, as Makarewicz hammered his seventh home run of the campaign over the wall in right center to give ECU a 4-3 edge.

East Carolina put the game away in the fifth inning. Jenkins-Cowart was hit by a pitch to lead things off and scored quickly as Nowak laced a triple down the right field line. Wilcoxen kept the line moving with an RBI single to make it 6-3 and Ryan McCrystal doubled to the gap in left center to push Wilcoxen to third. Makarewicz came through with a sac fly in the next at bat to plate Wilcoxen and leave the Pirates with a 7-3 cushion.

With the bullpen dealing, ECU tacked on two runs for good measure in the top of the ninth. Pinch hitter Ryley Johnson singled and stole second before Wilcoxen delivered an RBI single and moved to third on a throwing error. Joey Berini capped the scoring by putting down a perfect bunt that saw Wilcoxen scoot home safely.

Postgame Notes Graphic
  • East Carolina improved to 6-9 in true road games this season.
  • The Pirate pitching staff struck out double-digit hitters (14) for the 24th time in 2023.
  • ECU was 4-for-10 (.400) with runners in scoring position and collected three two-out RBI.
  • East Carolina registered three triples in the contest falling one short of the program single-season record of four set on March 31, 1982.
  • Nowak became the first Pirate to log two triples in a game since Bryson Worrell did the same at South Florida back on May 20, 2021 in game one of a doubleheader in Tampa.

Up Next: East Carolina and Cincinnati continue their series Saturday at 2 p.m.