MEMPHIS — Sophomore right-hander Chris Holba of East Carolina improved to 9-0 as the Pirates won the opening game of their American Athletic Conference series at Memphis, 5-1, on Friday night.
Holba started and went seven and one-third innings. He allowed seven hits and one run (earned) while walking one and striking out four.
Davis Kirkpatrick pitched the remainder of the eighth inning and Zach Barnes retired the Tigers in order on three groundouts in the ninth.
“I thought Chris Holba pitched very well tonight for us as did Davis and Zach,” said Pirates coach Cliff Godwin. “Offensively, I thought we were very average to be honest. We did enough to score some runs on getting big two-out RBI hits by Washer and Packard along with Brady Lloyd’s aggressive base running that gave us a run.
“Just thought we were okay offensively with a lot of soft contact and don’t know if we were as focused as we needed to be, but we did enough to win.”
ECU took a 1-0 lead in the fourth after Spencer Brickhouse led off with a single up the middle. Walks to Jake Washer and Andrew Henrickson put Brickhouse on third, allowing him to come home on a wild pitch by Alex Hicks (2-7).
The Pirates added three runs in the fifth as Washer had a two-run single to center and Connor Litton had an RBI single to left.
Bryant Packard had an RBI single for the Pirates (28-9, 6-4 AAC) in the eighth. The schedule with the Tigers (13-26, 1-9) has been revised, eliminating Sunday’s game for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.