CLEARWATER, FL — East Carolina avoided a 10th straight loss to Houston as the No. 15 Pirates eliminated the No. 18 Cougars with a 12-1 win in seven innings in the American Athletic Conference semifinals at Robin Roberts Field on Friday.
ECU (42-16), the fourth seed for the event, will meet third-seeded Connecticut (35-19-1) on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Spectrum Field for the tournament championship. The Huskies took a series with the visiting Pirates two games to one last weekend. UConn reached the final by edging South Florida 3-2 on Friday.
Jake Kuchmaner (4-0) went the route for ECU. The freshman left-hander settled in after starting mound counterpart Tyler Bielamowicz led off the game with a home run to left.
Kuchmaner allowed four hits and struck out five while walking one.
The Pirates went ahead to stay with two runs in the bottom of the first. Andrew Henrickson walked and Dwanya Williams-Sutton doubled before an RBI single by Spencer Brickhouse tied the score. Williams-Sutton came home on a wild pitch.
Connor Litton had a two-run double in a five-run third for the Pirates. Jake Washer scored on a wild pitch. Turner Brown was hit by a pitch to force in Litton for a 6-1 ECU lead. An RBI single by Bryson Worrell brought in the final run of the frame.
Another double by Litton plated Brickhouse in the fourth and Litton came in on a ground out by Alec Burleson.
Williams-Sutton and Brickhouse had RBI singles for the Pirates in the fifth, expanding the lead to 11-1.
Brady Lloyd had an RBI single in the sixth.
Litton went 3-for-4 with three doubles, three RBIs and three runs scored. Brickhouse finished 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Williams-Sutton and Worrell each had two hits with a double and an RBI.