STORRS, CT — Host Connecticut rebounded from a 6-3 loss in the first game of a doubleheader Friday against East Carolina to claim the American Athletic Conference series two games to one with a 4-2 win in the second contest.
The series was compacted due to the threat of inclement weather Saturday.
ECU, ranked No. 9 nationally, is 39-15 overall and 14-10 in the AAC heading into the league tournament in Clearwater, FL, next week. The Huskies, ranked No. 22, are 32-8-1 for the season and are 14-10 in conference play.
Bryant Packard extended his hitting streak to 32 games, belting a two-run homer in the first game that extended the Pirates’ lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning.
Packard had doubled to start the game. moved to third on a wild pitch and came home when Spencer Brickhouse hit into a fielder’s choice. Brickhouse stole second and came home on a single by Jake Washer as ECU went ahead 2-0 in the first inning.
Brickhouse pushed the lead to 5-0 in the fifth with a solo homer. Packard belted his second roundtripper of the game in the sixth for a 6-2 Pirates advantage.
Freshman left-hander Alec Burleson (5-1) got the win. He yielded three runs (two earned) on six hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Southpaw Ryan Ross picked up his team-high sixth save as he retired the Huskies in order in the ninth while striking out two. Trey Benton contributed three solid innings on the mound.
Lloyd and Packard both had three hits in the first game Friday.
UConn scored three times with two out in the third inning of the second game and led the rest of the way.
ECU cut the lead to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly by Brickhouse in the fifth that scored Packard, who had doubled and gone to third on a wild pitch.
The Pirates plated their final run in the ninth on an RBI ground out by Brady Lloyd.
Left-hander Jake Agnos (4-3) started the second game and absorbed the loss, giving up four earned runs in four and two-thirds innings. Right-hander Tyler Smith, who had been the game three weekend starter, did not make the trip due to arm soreness. Smith’s status for the AAC Tournament is undetermined.
Davis Kirkpatrick got the final out in the fifth before Zach Barnes tossed three scoreless frames.
Turner Brown, Andrew Henrickson and Packard had two hits apiece in the second game, giving Packard five hits for the day.
ECU now turns its attention to next week’s AAC Tournament in Clearwater, FL. The Pirates, seeded 4th, will face No. 5 seed Central Florida on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in tournament’s opening game.