GREENVILLE, N.C. – Cam Clonch and Josh Moylan bookended the East Carolina offense with a pair of three-run home runs as the ninth-ranked Pirates picked up a 9-4 victory over Cincinnati in the opener of an American Athletic Conference series Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (26-8, 5-2 AAC) continued their utter dominance at home, improving to 22-2 in Greenville and tallying their sixth consecutive victory. The Bearcats (15-20, 3-4 AAC) managed just four hits (all home runs) and committed three errors during the evening.
Trey Yesavage (6-0), while allowing three runs on two hits in five innings of work, still collected his sixth victory of the campaign behind a 10-strikeout performance. Griffin Hugus (1-1) was saddled with the loss after surrendering five runs (four earned) on two hits with five walks and one strikeout in just 1.2 innings of work.
Alec Makarewicz posted a two-hit effort and drove in one run while Clonch and Moylan delivered three RBI apiece. Lane Hoover, the newly crowned AAC career leader in runs scored, crossed home plate twice and drew a pair of walks. Tommy O’Connor went 2-for-4 with a run scored to pace the visitors.
After Yesavage struck out the side in the top of the first, the East Carolina offense went right to work. Hoover fell behind 0-2 to lead off the frame but fought back to draw a walk. Starling then laced a two-out single to left center before Clonch drilled a 2-1 pitch well over the right field wall to put the Pirates in front 3-0 through one complete.
ECU extended its lead to five in the bottom of the second with two away. Carter Cunningham and Moylan worked a pair of walks while Jacob Starling drew a free pass as well to load the bases. Cunningham scampered home on a wild pitch and Moylan scored on a throwing error to account for the two tallies.
Cincinnati crept within 6-3 in the sixth frame thanks to a Ryan Nicholson two-run homer and Alec Jones hit a solo shot in the top of the eighth to reduce the Bearcat deficit to just two. Joey Berini would single through the right side to begin the home half of the eighth and Hoover reached base via a walk with one out before Moylan delivered the knockout blow with a three-run blast to left center that accounted for the contest’s final five-run margin.
- East Carolina ran its winning streak over Cincinnati to seven games.
- The Pirate pitching staff fanned double-digit batters for the third-straight game and the 18th time this season.
- ECU has won four straight games in league play since a setback in the series finale at Houston.
- The Pirates improved to 11-0 when hitting at least two home runs.
- Moylan stretched his current hitting streak to six games.
Up Next: East Carolina looks to clinch its second American Conference series of the year when the series resumes Saturday at 4 p.m.