GREENVILLE, N.C. – Gavin Williams struck out a career-high 13 batters over a career-long 6.2 innings in No. 11 East Carolina’s 7-0 win over Cincinnati Friday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Pirates improve to 20-5 on the season and 2-0 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Bearcats fall to 11-12 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Williams (3-0) scatted four hits and walked three in his third start of the season, which culminated in the Pirates’ second consecutive shutout when he took the mound. The right-hander fanned multiple batters in the first inning as well a the third through seventh frames, while punching out one in the second. Over his last two starts, he has not allowed a run in 12.2 innings, gave up just seven hits and has 24 strikeouts to just four walks. Carter Spivey was impressive in his 2021 conference debut retiring all seven batters he faced over 2.1 innings with three strikeouts.
For the second-straight game the Pirates scored a pair of runs early and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second frame. Alec Makarewicz got things going reaching on an infield single and moved to third on Josh Moylan’s single through the right side. Zach Agnos doubled to left field scoring Makarewicz and two batters later Ryder Giles’ sac bunt pushed across Moylan.
Dean McCarthy (1-2) took the loss giving up seven runs (all earned) on seven hits with a pair of walk and six strikeouts. The left-hander had at least one punch out in four of six frames with multiple coming in the first and fifth stanzas. Nick Murry (1 BB, 1 K) and Drake Batcho (2 BBs) closed out the final two innings for the Bearcats.
ECU added to its lead in the fourth scoring five runs on three hits for a 7-0 advantage. Moylan led off with a single through the right side and took second on Agnos’ sac bunt. Jacob Starling, who registered his first career start, followed with a walk and Giles loaded the bases with a single through the left side. Ryley Johnson drew a walk to score Moylan and Connor Norby reached on an error that plated Starling Thomas Francisco’s two-run single and Seth Caddell’s sac fly accounted for the final three runs and capping the scoring on the day.
The Bearcats threatened a couple times but left runners in scoring position in the third, fifth and seventh frames. In the seventh, Cincinnati chased Williams for the game with the bases juiced and two outs, but Spivey registered the first of his three punch outs to get out of the jam preserving the shutout.
Offensively the Pirates tallied seven hits with Moylan leading the way with his eighth multi-hit game of the season. Norby (12 games) and Francisco (10) both extended their hit streaks, while the duo also kept their on-base streaks going at 32 games (Norby) and 25 (Francisco).
ECU and Cincinnati will close out the four-game series Saturday, April 3rd with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. (ET). Both games will be streamed on ECUPirates.com.