CLEARWATER, FL — East Carolina overcame an early 3-0 deficit against Central Florida on Tuesday for an 8-4 win in the opening game of the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament at Spectrum Field.
The Pirates improved to 40-15 as Andrew Henrickson went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Henrickson had a three-run double in the seventh to extend ECU’s lead to its final margin.
“He played well here last year,” said Pirates coach Cliff Godwin of Henrickson. “He likes this place. He’s a senior who plays his tail off.”
The Knights (35-20) scored three times in the top of the first as Tyler Osik had a two-run single and Rylan Thomas came home on a wild pitch.
The No. 15 Pirates, seeded fourth in the AAC, got a run back in the bottom of the first as Jake Washer doubled to score Dwanya Williams-Sutton.
Turner Brown and Spencer Brickhouse had RBI singles as ECU evened the score at 3 in the second.
Henrickson drove in Connor Litton with the go-ahead run on a triple in the third. A sacrifice fly by Brady Lloyd brought in Henrickson for a 5-3 Pirates’ lead.
Williams-Sutton threw a runner out at the plate from right field after the Knights had closed within 5-4 in the fourth.
Ryan Ross (2-4) followed Chris Holba and Davis Kirkpatrick to the mound to notch the win. Ross had three strikeouts in two innings as he faced seven batters without yielding a hit. Zach Barnes closed the contest with two scoreless frames.
Brickhouse and Washer each had two hits and an RBI. Alec Burleson had two hits with a double and scored a run.
The Pirates play again on Thursday at 3 p.m. if the event stays on schedule. ECU will face the winner of a Tuesday matchup between Tulane and top-seeded Houston.