GREENVILLE, N.C. – An explosion of early offense was more than enough for No. 14 East Carolina Sunday afternoon as it rolled to an 11-7 victory over Memphis to finish off an American Athletic Conference series sweep at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (38-14, 15-6 AAC) have won seven-straight games overall and in league play, finishing the home AAC season with an 11-1 record. ECU has swept eight weekend opponents this year and has won 11 series in 13 attempts. Meanwhile, the Tigers (26-25, 8-13 AAC) were broomed in a conference series for the first time this campaign.
It was Alec Makarewicz’ turn to break out offensively as the junior went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI thanks in large part to a two-home run performance. Jacob Jenkins-Cowart also chipped in with two hits and a pair of RBI while Joey Berini drew two walks and scored three runs. Anthony Hansen and Cameron Benson both notched two hits and drove in two runs for the visitors.
Danny Beal (5-1) was effective in relief, earning the win after tossing 2.1 scoreless innings and striking out five while yielding just one hit. Luke Ellis (2-3) only lasted 1.1 frames, surrendering five runs (four earned) on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
After Zach Root struck out the side in the top of the first, Lane Hoover led off the home half of the frame with an infield single and Jenkins-Cowart ripped an opposite field single to left. Justin Wilcoxen then moved the runners up a base with a perfectly placed sac bunt and Josh Moylan pounded a fly ball to deep center that allowed Hoover to cross home and afford East Carolina an early 1-0 advantage.
The Pirates continued to pour on the offense in the second, stretching its lead to 5-0 with a four spot. Berini drew a four-pitch walk to kick off the frame before Makarewicz roped a single to right center to send Berini to third. Carter Cunningham continued his solid weekend with an RBI single to right and Hoover put a ball in play that Ellis sailed over the first baseman’s head to score Makarewicz. Jenkins-Cowart capped the outburst with a two-run single right up the middle.
Memphis scratched across a run in the top of the third, but with Berini on base in the bottom of the inning, Makarewicz got hold of a 3-1 offering and drilled it to right center, making the score 7-1. Luke Nowak drove in East Carolina’s eighth run in the fourth on a groundout and the Pirates tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth via a Berini RBI single and Makarewicz two-run blast to put themselves in position for the run rule.
Memphis would score six runs over the final three frames, but the early deficit was far too much for the Tigers to avoid the broom.
Up Next: East Carolina closes out its home schedule Tuesday evening, hosting Campbell for a non-conference contest at Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.