GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 9 East Carolina put the finishing touches on its second-straight American Athletic Conference sweep Sunday afternoon, downing Cincinnati 13-3 in seven innings from Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (28-8, 7-2 AAC) posted their eighth-straight victory overall and sixth consecutive in league play to take sole possession of first place in the AAC standings as Houston suffered a 13-2 loss to South Florida Sunday in its series finale with the Bulls at Schroeder Park. The Bearcats (15-22, 3-6 AAC) will host ECU later in the season (May 5-7) to complete the home-and-home set.
East Carolina rapped out a collective 12 hits with Josh Moylan, Jacob Starling and Cam Clonch combining for six base knocks (two apiece), seven runs scored, six RBI, a double and two home runs. Cam Scheler paced the visitors with two hits and a pair of runs scored.
Danny Beal (2-1) recorded the victory in relief, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Josh Grosz turned in a strong 4.2 frames to start the contest, adding seven strikeouts to his season total. Notably, Garrett Saylor pitched the final frame in his first outing since March 22 versus Campbell in Fayetteville. Mitch White (1-1) was tagged with the loss after yielding four runs on two hits in just 0.1 innings of work.
ECU got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning when Carter Cunningham walked, advanced to second and crossed home plate on a Starling RBI single to center. Cincinnati responded with a pair of runs in the third to grab a 2-1 advantage, but the Pirates answered right back in the home half of the frame. Moylan was hit by a pitch with one out before Starling and Clonch worked a pair of consecutive walks to load the bases. Luke Nowak then drilled a 2-2 offering down the right field line and into the corner for a two-run double to make it 3-2 while Alec Makarewicz ripped a first-pitch double to right to score two and extend the lead to three.
East Carolina essentially put the game away with another four spot in the fourth inning. Lane Hoover walked to lead things off and Cunningham and Moylan delivered two-straight singles to load the bases with no outs. Starling kept the line moving with a two-run single before Moylan scored on a passed ball and Starling scampered home on a Cunningham sac fly to leave the Purple and Gold in front 9-2.
After Scheler hit a solo long ball in the top of the fifth, another Cunningham sac fly restored the ECU seven-run cushion. Moylan pushed the Pirates even closer to the run-rule margin right after that, taking an 0-0 pitch and launching it over the wall in left to stretch the East Carolina upper hand to 12-3.
Clonch would finish the job offensively in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer to right. Saylor then worked around a leadoff single in the top of the seventh and retired the next three batters to close out the victory.
- East Carolina notched its sixth weekend series sweep of the season while improving to 24-2 at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The Pirates also run-ruled a conference opponent twice in a series for the first time in program history.
- ECU extended its winning streak over the Bearcats to nine games.
- The Pirates were stellar with runners in scoring position, going 7-for-11 (.636).
- Moylan stretched his current hitting streak to eight games and notched his team-leading 13th multi-RBI effort of the campaign.
- Justin Wilcoxen has reached base safely in 19-straight outings as he tallied two hits in the game.
Up Next: East Carolina kicks off a five-game road swing Wednesday, April 19, with a non-conference affair against the Charlotte 49ers at Truist Field – the home of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. and the game will stream live via ESPN+.