CHARLOTTE — East Carolina took both ends of a doubleheader Saturday at Charlotte to sweep a three-game series with the 49ers.
The Pirates (12-3), ranked No. 19 by D1Baseball.com, took the first game 6-5 on Saturday and closed strong with a 12-2 victory.
Charlotte (8-7) scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in game one Saturday.
The Pirates maintained the lead after a four-run seventh inning in the opener. Jeremy Whitehead’s sacrifice fly brought in Connor Litton for a 1-0 ECU lead. Brady Lloyd’s RBI single scored Jake Washer for a 2-0 advantage. Dusty Baker and Turner Brown had RBI singles.
Tate Pennington drove in two runs in the bottom of the seventh with a single down the right-field line to cut the Pirates’ lead to 4-2.
Drew Henrickson’s RBI double and Brown’s run-scoring sacrifice bunt extended ECU’s lead to 6-2 in the ninth.
Chris Holba (4-0) went six and two-thirds innings in the first game. The sophomore right-hander allowed five hits and two runs, both earned, while walking one and striking out six. Ryan Ross finished the seventh.
Freshman lefty Alec Burleson pitched the last two innings. He yielded three hits and three unearned runs in picking up his third save. He fanned two without a walk.
Brown had two hits and two RBIs. Washer and Baker also had a pair of hits apiece.
In the second game, the Pirates took control with three runs in the second, five in the fourth and two more in the fifth for a 10-0 lead.
Burleson was 3-for-6 with four RBIs. Brickhouse, Washer and Seth Caddell had home runs. Henrickson went 3-for-5 and scored twice. Nick Barber was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs. Baker had two runs and two RBIs.
Tyler Smith (2-0) pitched six shutout innings with three hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
Jake Kuchmaner, Sam Lanier and Willy Strong each pitched an inning for ECU, which didn’t yield an earned run.
“In game one, Chris Holba was fantastic in a pitcher’s duel and we were able to break through in the seventh inning and then they answered back before we scored a couple more,” said Pirates coach Cliff Godwin. “Didn’t play great defense in the ninth, but (Alec) Burleson finished the job for us.
“The second game, Tyler Smith started it off giving us six scoreless innings and the offense really executed our plan early. Burleson had a big game for us with four RBIs and then getting home runs by Brickhouse (two-run), Caddell (two-run) and Washer’s solo jack that got us on the board to start the game.
“Our speed really put pressure on them with Dusty Baker, Brady Lloyd and (Nick) Barber executing our plan. But I’m just really proud of our guys today stepping up when called on and never skipping a beat.”
ECU hosts Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
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