Williams fans 9, Pirates top Tulane 12-4 in series opener

ECU Pirates

Pirates now just 1/2 game behind Tulane in AAC standings going into Saturday's DH

Gavin Williams (ECU Sports Information photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Gavin Williams struck out nine while his offense pounded out 16 hits including three home runs, lifting No. 13 East Carolina to a 12-4 win over No. 22 Tulane Friday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium in American Athletic Conference action.

With the win the Pirates improve to 31-9 on the year and 13-4 in league play, while the Green Wave drop to 24-15 and 13-3.

ECU plated the first run of the game in the second inning taking an early 1-0 lead. Zach Agnos singled up the middle which was followed by an infield hit by Lane Hoover putting runners on first and second. Bryson Worrell dropped down a sac bunt moving both runners into scoring position and Seth Caddell’s ground out to third pushed across Agnos.

Back-to-back home runs by Worrell and Caddell highlighted a three-run fourth inning for the Pirates who extended their lead to 4-0 and never looked back. Agnos led off with a double and would later score on a wild pitch for the first run. Worrell blasted his fifth homer of the season with a solo shot to right-center and Caddell followed with his team-leading 12th home run sending a shot to left field.

Williams (7-0) gave up a pair of runs (both earned) on five hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings. The righty has fanned nine or more batters in six consecutive starts, which includes his five-straight in league play. He fanned at least one in all six innings he worked including multiple in the first three. Cam Colmore tossed two scoreless frames with three strikeouts, while Landon Ginn allowed two runs (both earned) on four hits after facing six batters. C.J. Mayhue struck out two and walked three in two-thirds of a frame and Josh Grosz worked a scoreless ninth.

Braden Olthoff (5-2) allowed four runs (all earned) on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts in four innings. Jake McDonald gave up two runs (one earned) in one-plus inning of relief work. The Green Wave used six arms out of the bullpen getting work from Jake McDonald (1.0 IP, 2 Rs, 2 Ks), Keaton Knueppel (0.2 IP, 1 K) David Bates (0.2 IP, 2 Rs), Justin Campbell (0.0 IP, 1 R), Lane Thomas (0.2 IP, 3 Rs, 1 K) and Turner Thompson (1.0 IP, 2 Ks).

The Pirates tacked on to their lead with a run in the fifth pushing the lead to 5-0. Alec Makarewicz singled to right field to start the frame and moved to third on Agnos’ third hit of the game. Makarewicz would later score on a passed ball from Bennett Lee behind the plate.

Tulane finally got on the board in the sixth inning scoring a couple of runs cutting the lead to three, 5-2. Collin Burns led off with an infield single and took second on Jacob Laprairie’ walk. Lee followed with an RBI single down the right field line easily plating Burns. Two batters later Frankie Neimann’s shot back up the middle pushed across Laprairie.

ECU added another run when Hoover walked with the bases loaded scoring Norby in the sixth for a 6-2 advantage.

Norby’s two-run home run and Ryley Johnson’s RBI single accounted for all three of ECU’s runs in the seventh extending the lead to 9-2. Caddell led off with a walk, move to second on Ryder Giles’ sac bunt and came around to score on Norby’s 11th home run of the year. Francisco followed with a single and moved to second on Josh Moylan’s second walk of the day before Johnson’s RBI to left-center.

Each team put up crooked numbers in the eighth with Tulane scoring a pair and ECU plating three capping the scoring at 12-4.

Norby led the Pirates 16-hit attack going 4-for-5 with four RBI and scores a pair of runs. With his single to open the game, he extended his on-base streak to 47 straight games and has now collected at least one hit in 36 of 40 contests. Agnos tied his career-high with three hits and scored a pair of runs, while Francisco went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Caddell plated a pair with one coming on his solo home run.

ECU and Tulane will return to action on Saturday, May 8 with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (ET) and streamed on ECUPirates.com. Senior Day announcements are set to begin at 12:40 p.m. before the first game.

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