CHARLOTTE — East Carolina took the opener of a 3-game series at Charlotte, 14-4, on Friday as winning pitcher Alec Burleson went 3-for-3 and scored three runs.
The Pirates (10-3), ranked as high as No. 22 nationally, had 17 hits.
Burleson, a junior left-hander, went five and two-thirds innings on the mound as he improved to 2-1. He yielded four runs, all earned. He gave up eight hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Skylar Brooks, C.J. Mayhue, Parker Boyle, A.J. Wilson and Nick Logusch kept the 49ers (8-6) scoreless in relief efforts.
A leadoff triple by Seth Caddell sparked a 2-run second inning for the Pirates. Connor Norby walked with two out and stole second before a walk to Brooks loaded the bases. Ryder Giles gave ECU a 2-0 lead with a single to right field.
Burleson singled up the middle and stole second in the third. Bryson Worrell was intentionally walked with two out. Christian Jayne’s RBI single to center gave the Pirates a 3-0 advantage.
Burleson walked and stole second to set up a 2-run fifth for ECU. Worrell walked before a ground out by Jayne allowed Burleson to move to third. Norby bunted for a hit to bring in Burleson. Worrell scored on a passed ball.
Lane Hoover had a 2-run homer to right after Giles reached on an error to start the sixth.
The 49ers got on the board with a 3-run homer by Rafi Vazquez in the bottom of the sixth. A bases-loaded walk to Jacob Whitley got Charlotte within 7-4.
The Pirates added two runs in the seventh and five more in the eighth. Giles had a sacrifice fly in the seventh and Hoover drove in a run with a bunt single.
In the eighth, Caddell, Worrell and Jayne had RBI singles. ECU added two more runs on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice for the final margin.
Giles finished with three hits and three RBIs. Hoover had a pair of hits and drove in three runs. Jayne had two hits and two RBIs.
The second game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.