GREENVILLE — East Carolina is looking at repeating history to make it out of the regional it is hosting as the No. 1 seed.
In 2009, the Pirates had to beat South Carolina twice in order to advance to the Super Regional round. Devin Harris was the hero in a decisive 10-9 win in 10 innings on Monday, June 1, 2009, at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Gamecocks put ECU in that position again with a 4-2 win on Saturday night into Sunday morning. The Pirates play UNC-Wilmington for the fourth time on Sunday at 2 p.m. with the winner needing two wins over South Carolina in order to move on.
“I love my guys,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “We’ll be ready to go at 2. . . . We’ve got to win the first pitch and play our best baseball at 2 o’clock.”
Both teams were involved in a waiting game before the winners’ bracket contest got underway.
The start was delayed as Ohio State and UNC Wilmington went 13 innings in the first matchup on Saturday before the Seahawks walked off with a 4-3 win.
The elimination contest was halted for one hour and 39 minutes in the 12th inning due to weather.
The start time of the ECU-USC game was pushed back to 9 p.m. as another system came through.
South Carolina (35-24) took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Danny Blair led off with an infield single. A balk by Alec Burleson allowed Blair to move to second. Madison Stokes walked after Carlos Cortez struck out. Jonah Bride had a two-run double down the left field line. L.T. Tolbert’s RBI single gave the Gamecocks a 3-0 advantage.
The Pirates (44-17) picked up a run in the fourth as Bryant Packard singled and went to third on a hit by Dwanya Williams-Sutton. A sacrifice fly by Spencer Brickhouse brought ECU within 3-1.
Packard went 3-for-4 with two runs.
Packard scored in the sixth as the Pirates closed the gap to 3-2. Packard opened the frame with a single and went to third on a wild pitch as Brickhouse walked. Brickhouse was caught stealing but Packard came home on the play.
The Gamecocks added a run in the eighth after Davis Kirkpatrick hit Justin Row to start the inning. Row moved to second on a wild pitch and scored for a 4-2 South Carolina lead on a double to left by Jacob Olson.
“A hard fought game,” Godwin said. “South Carolina did a little more. (Cody) Morris (South Carolina starter) was the difference. He kept us off balance. Fighting back from 3-0 was tough.”
Morris (8-3) went seven and one-third innings. He allowed five hits and two earned runs while walking four and striking out seven.
Godwin planned to start sophomore left-hander Jake Agnos (4-4) against the Seahawks (38-22). UNCW will be the home team according to NCAA regulations.