GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The old saying goes that when it rains, it pours. That was never more the case — literally and figuratively — than Sunday with the season on the line for the East Carolina University baseball team.

Win or go home: Texas victory forces deciding game

Texas advanced to its 38th College World Series and denied the Pirates the chance to reach the same plateau for the first time in program history. A four-run first inning, followed by a five-hour rain delay and a five-run second inning when play resumed, pretty much slammed the door on any hopes for ECU to win the Greenville Super Regional. The Longhorns advanced with an 11-1 win in a game that finished just after 1:30 a.m. Monday.

ECU saw its season end at 46-21 while Texas moves on at 47-20. The College World Series begins Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.

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The American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions overcame several bumps in the road on its way to coming within one win of the CWS. The loss of star pitcher Carson Whisenhunt, who tested positive for a banned substance at the start of the season, was followed by a 1-5 start to the season and a 14-13 record midway through.

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The Pirates bounced back in a big way after that, winning a nation’s best 20 straight games and finishing with 22 wins in its final 25 games. However it was those two straight losses to Texas after winning Friday’s Super Regional opener that will remain on the minds of players, coaches and fans going into the offseason.

It’s a similar path the Pirates had in 2016 when it won the Super Regional opener with Texas Tech, 8-6, before losing 3-1 in 13 innings in Game 2 and 11-0 in the deciding game.

Sunday’s deciding game was originally slated for 4 p.m. but the weather pushed it back to 5 p.m. When the game finally started, Texas jumped to a 4-0 lead against ECU in the top of the first inning before lightning stopped the game and heavy rain moved through, forcing the five-hour delay.

Douglas Hondo III opened the game with a single, stole second and, after a walk by Eric Kennedy, Ivan Melendez uncorked a three-run homer to left for a 3-0 Texas lead.

It was the Longhorns’ 126th home run this season, a school record.

After Murphy Stehly was hit by a pitch, ECU coach Cliff Godwin pulled starting pitcher Trey Yesavage and replaced him with Danny Beal. Stehly later scored on a single to left by Messinger to give Texas a 4-0 lead.

Lightning then forced the game to be halted. Several band of rain showers moved through over the next five hours. Around 9:45 p.m., it was determined the field was playable enough to resume action at 10:15 p.m.

When play resumed in the bottom of the first, Jacob Jenkins-Cowart hit a sacrifice fly that scored Zach Agnos, who singled up the middle, cutting the deficit to 4-1.

Texas responded with five runs in the second, batting around and using five hits to jump to a 9-1 advantage that proved to be too much for the Pirates to overcome. Kennedy singled in Trey Faltine, who opened with a single, Stehly doubled in two more with the bases loaded and Skyler Messinger singled in Stehly.

From there, it was more or less a matter of seeing if ECU could mount a rally like it did in the first two games. Instead, ECU left two on base in the third, one in the fifth and two each in the sixth and seventh.

Texas tacked on another run in the fifth on a solo homer by Faltine. Silas Ardion hit a solo homer in the ninth. Texas now has 128 home runs this season heading into the CWS.

Garrett Saylor did his best to keep the Pirates in it on the mound, giving up a run on two hits with four strikeouts in four innings of relief. It was a good sign for an ECU team that brings back the bulk of its players next season with hopes of building on what they accomplished this season.

Tristan Stevens got the win for Texas, giving up a run on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks over six innings.