Pirates split doubleheader with Tulane, remain 1/2 game back in AAC standings

ECU Pirates

Josh Moylan (ECU Sports Information photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 13 East Carolina and No. 22 Tulane split an American Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. The Pirates (32-10, 14-5) took game one 7-4 and Tulane (25-16, 14-4) earned the win in the second contest 7-6.

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In a back-and-forth game two that saw five lead changes, Tulane’s Ethan Groff smacked a two-run homer in the eighth inning giving the Green Wave a 7-6 advantage. With a runner on first base, Simon Baumgardt reached on a fielder’s choice and scored following Groff’s fourth home run of the season that came on a 2-0 offering from Ryder Giles that went over the left field wall.

Clifton Slagel (2-0) earned the win in relief working 1.2 scoreless frames where he allowed a hit and struck out one. Keagan Gillies picked up his fourth save of the season tossing two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts. Starter Donovan Benoit was touched for five runs (all earned) on eight hits with five walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Justin Campbell allowed one run (earned) with a walk and one strikeout in a third of an inning.

Giles (1-1) got the loss giving up the two run in the eighth in two-thirds of an inning. Jake Kuchmaner allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits in two innings, while Garrett Saylor gave up two runs (both earned) on three hits with four punch outs in his 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. A.J. Wilson worked 1.1 scoreless frames with a walk and Matt Bridges allowed a hit and fanned two in 1.1 innings.

Tulane scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning taking an early 2-0 lead. Luis Aviles singled home Collin Burns with a shot to center, which was followed by an RBI fielder’s choice from Chase Engelhard.

The Pirates responded with three in the home half of the frame for a one-run lead, 3-2. Thomas Francisco singled through the right side with one out and Josh Moylan collected the first of his two hits with a base hit to center putting runners on the corners with one out. After Francisco scored on a wild pitch and Alec Makarewicz ground out, Zach Agnos belted his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right-center, clearing the bases.

Each team traded runs in the second with the Pirates holding on to a 4-3 lead.

Aviles’ two-run double to right-center game the Green Wave a 5-4 lead in the fifth frame. Jacob Laprairie singled with one out and Bennett Lee’s base hit through the right side put runners on first and second setting up Aviles two-base hit.

The Pirates responded with a pair in the sixth re-taking the lead at 6-5. Connor Norby, who extended his on-base streak to 49-straight games dating back to 2020, started the stanza with a walk then stole second to move into scoring position. After Moylan reached base for the third time on the night with a walk, Makarewicz singled to right field plating Norby. Agnos continued the inning with an RBI double to left center pushing across Moylan.

Agnos, Francisco and Moylan each tallied two hits and combined for six of the Pirates 10 in the game. Agnos drove in a team-best three runs, while Makarewicz and Norby both added RBI.

GAME ONE RECAP
Tulane struck first scoring a run in the third inning taking an early 1-0 lead. Simon Baumgardt led off with a double to right-center and two batters later scored on Collin Burns RBI single to center.

C.J. Mayhue (3-1) earned the win working 2.1 innings of relief allowing two runs (both unearned) on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Matt Bridges notched his second save of the season tossing 1.1 scoreless frames with a pair of punch outs. Starter Tyler Smith gave up two runs (both earned) on five hits with three walks and three punch outs in 4.2 innings of work. Cam Colmore also worked two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run, walking one and striking out one.

Jack Aldrich (4-2) took the loss after allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Trent Johnson was touched for three runs (all earned) on three hits issuing three walks and fanning four in three innings.

The Pirates returned serve scoring four runs in the home half of the third for a 4-1 advantage. Norby walked to get things going and took third on Francisco’s single and a Green Wave error. Agnos tied the game at one on an RBI ground out pushing across Norby and Seth Caddell’s RBI single to left field plated Francisco. Bryson Worrell followed with another single to left, Lane Hoover walked and Moylan loaded the bases with a base hit to right field. Ryley Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice scoring Worrell for the final run of the stanza.

Moylan’s third hit of the game scored a pair to extend ECU’s lead to four, 6-2, in the seventh inning. Caddell singled with one out and Worrell followed with a walk before both crossed home on Moylan’s shot to right-center.

Laprairie’s two-run single in the eighth frame pulled the Green Wave withing two, 6-4. Englehard singled to center and took second on Groff’s fielder’s choice coupled with an ECU error. With the bases juiced, Lapraire singled through the right side scoring the pair.

Norby’s extended the Pirates lead to three, 7-4, with a one-out solo shot to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning.

ECU tallied 10 hits in the contest getting multiple hits from Moylan (three), Caddell (two) and Worrell (two). Moylan also drove in a team-high three runs, while Caddell, Norby and Worrell each scored twice.

The two teams will close out the four-game series Sunday, May 9 at 12:30 p.m. (ET) and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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