TAMPA, FL — South Florida edged visiting East Carolina 5-4 on Saturday night with a run in the bottom of the 10th inning to take the American Athletic Conference series.
Kevin Merrell of the Bulls tripled off Ryan Ross (0-1) to lead off the bottom of the final frame. The Pirates intentionally walked Duke Stunkel and Luke Borders to load the bases.
Matt Bridges recorded a strikeout and a fly out before David Villar singled to right field to score the game-ending run.
Travis Watkins homered to left center in the top of the ninth to tie the score at 4.
ECU trailed 4-0 after five innings. Merrell led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Pirates starter Trey Benton, who went four and two-thirds innings. Benton allowed eight hits and four runs, all earned. He walked one and struck out seven.
Sam Lanier had six strikeouts for the Pirates. ECU pitchers had 15 whiffs.
Watkins went 3-for-5 as the Pirates totaled nine hits. Eric Tyler and Bryce Harman each had two hits and a home run.
The Bulls scored three runs in the fifth as Garrett Zech and Coco Montes had back-to-back doubles. Merrell singled and Stunkel grounded out to bring in Montes.
Joe Genord’s RBI single gave USF a 4-0 lead.
Harman singled in the sixth and Tyler homered to left to draw ECU within 4-2.
Harman’s solo homer in the eighth cut the lead to 4-3.
Joe Cavallaro (3-1) pitched the last inning and one-third for the win.
Bulls starter Shane McClanahan had 13 strikeouts in seven innings.
USF improved to 36-10 overall and 11-6 in the AAC. The Pirates dropped to 24-23 for the season and 4-13 in league play.
ECU tries to avoid a sweep in a 1 p.m. game today.