Rally falls short as Pirates fall to Wichita State in series finale

ECU Pirates

Josh Moylan (ECU Sports Information photo)

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WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State held off a late rally by No. 10 East Carolina earning an American Athletic Conference series split with an 11-9 win Sunday afternoon at Eck Stadium. With the win the Shockers improve to 22-17 on the season and 10-9 in league play, while the Pirates fall to 30-9 and 12-4.

Trailing 2-0 heading to the bottom of the first inning, Wichita State scored six runs on five hits taking a 6-2 lead and never trailed. With the bases loaded and one out, Corrigan Bartlett’s walk pushed across Ross Cadena for the Shockers first run of the frame. Couper Cornblum singled to right scoring a pair for a 3-2 advantage. Seth Stroh’s RBI base hit to center scored two more and Andrew Stewart’s single through the right side plated another to cap the frame.

LJ McDonough (1-0) earned the win in relief allowing two runs (both unearned) on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Aaron Haase earned his league-leading eighth save tossing 2.1 scoreless innings of relief where he walked one and allowed two hits. Starter Gareth Stroh was touched for three runs (all earned) on four hits and struck out four in 3.2 innings. Ryan Stuempfig was touched for a pair of runs (both earned) on three hits with two walks in two-thirds of an inning and Aaron Bechtel gave up two runs (both earned) on two hits with a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning.

Carter Spivey (1-1) suffered the loss as he didn’t make it out of the first inning. The right-hander gave up five runs (all earned) on three hits with a pair of walk in just one-third of a frame. C.J Mayhue was first out of the bullpen where he allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits with three punchouts in 2.1 innings. Matt Bridges gave up two runs (both earned) on two hits in an inning and Cam Colmore kept the Pirates in the game tossing a season-high 4.1 scoreless frames with three strikeouts and two hits.

For the third time in four games, ECU jumped out to an early lead scoring a pair of runs in the first, 2-0. Connor Norby was hit by a pitch to start the game and took third on Thomas Francisco’s double down the left field line. Three batters later Zach Agnos’ two-RBI double scored Norby and Francisco.

The Shockers would build an 11-3 lead at the end of the fourth frame scoring a run in the second and a pair in each the third and fourth innings. Agnos’ fourth home run of the season (second of the series) accounted for the Pirates run in the fourth.

ECU pulled within two, 11-9, after scoring two runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Josh Moylan’s first home run in league play, a two-run shot down the left field line, scored a pair of runs in the fifth. Francisco singled with one out and came around to score on Moylan’s homer.

Moylan’s RBI single along with a couple of Shocker errors made it an 11-7 ball game. With two away, Ryley Johnson singled to center and Norby walked before Francisco reached on an error that plated Johnson. Moylan singled on a shot back to the pitcher pushing across Norby to account for the runs.

Seth Caddell’s two-run homer in the seventh pulled the Pirates within two, 11-9. Lane Hoover singled through the right side with two outs and Caddell blasted his team-leading 11th home run sending a shot to right field.

The Pirates recorded 13 hits in the contest getting multiple base knocks from five players. Moylan tallied a team-best three hits and drove in three, while Agnos, Caddell, Francisco and Johnson each had two hits apiece. Francisco also plated three runs, while Caddell had a pair of RBI.

ECU returns home for its final AAC series of the season when they host Tulane for a four-game set. First pitch of the scheduled doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. (ET) on Friday, May 7 and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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