CLEARWATER, FL — East Carolina overcame a power surge by Tulane’s Grant Witherspoon for a 6-5 victory in the winners’ bracket in the American Athletic Conference tournament on Wednesday at Robin Roberts Field.
The game was scheduled to be played at adjacent Spectrum Field on Thursday but was moved up due to the forecast of unfavorable weather on the original date.
Witherspoon had the Pirates (41-15) in a 4-1 hole with a pair of two-run homers but ECU scored five runs in a decisive eighth inning.
Witherspoon homered in the third and the seventh.
Facing a 4-1 deficit, the Pirates loaded the bases in the top of the eighth on a walk to Andrew Henrickson, a single to right by Brady Lloyd and a walk to Turner Brown. Pinch hitter Jeremy Whitehead grounded into a double play but that got Henrickson home to cut the Green Wave’s lead to 4-2.
Consecutive singles by Bryant Packard (RBI), Dwanya Williams-Sutton and Spencer Brickhouse (RBI) tied the score. Williams-Sutton hustled home on a wild pitch to give ECU a 5-4 lead. Jake Washer had an RBI single for a 6-4 Pirates advantage.
Henrickson’s sacrifice fly provided ECU’s first run in the fifth.
Sal Gozzo doubled on a 2-2 pitch from Jake Agnos to start Tulane’s half of the eighth and later scored on a wild pitch but Agnos got Witherspoon swinging to end the inning on the way to his first save.
Evan Voliva (2-0) had come on to record the last two outs in the seventh and got the win.
Alec Burleson started and went four and one-third innings. The Pirates also brought Trey Benton, Ryan Ross and Zach Barnes to the mound.
Brickhouse was 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI to pace ECU at the plate.
ECU will be back in action on Thursday at 12:30 p.m., weather permitting, and will face the winner of Houston/Tulane, who play at 9 a.m.