GREENVILLE — East Carolina and North Carolina played baseball for four hours, 17 minutes on Tuesday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates never led until a bases-loaded single to left by Alec Makarewicz in the bottom of the ninth provided a walk-off 11-10 win.
ECU (18-5) overcame three deficits of four runs each as UNC (13-10) had leads of 4-0, 6-2 and 10-6.
“It was awesome,” said Pirates coach Cliff Godwin. “Really proud of our guys. … A really good win. It wasn’t really fun until the end, but we found a way to win,”
The Tar Heels were trying to sweep the season series after an 8-1 win in Chapel Hill a week earlier. N.C. State swept a 3-game series at UNC that concluded Monday.
The Pirates got a pair of 2-run homers in the eighth inning from Seth Caddell and Makarewicz to tie the score at 10.
Last week’s winner at Boshamer Stadium, Nik Pry, yielded the game-tying shot to right center by Makarewicz. Pry is from Southern Pines Pinecrest, the same high school program that produced Caddell.
Godwin said ECU recruited Pry. The Pirate coach noted that Pry’s slider was not as crisp as a week ago. Pry threw 47 pitches in the last two games of the series with the Wolfpack.
Tyler Smith (1-1), who started and took the loss at UNC, was the winning pitcher in ECU’s epic comeback. Davis Palermo (0-1) was charged with the loss.
Thomas Francisco got ECU started in the ninth with a one-out single through the right side. Walks to Caddell and Josh Moylan set the table for Makarewicz, who completed the marathon comeback on a 2-2 pitch.
The Heels had taken a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on a 2-run homer by Danny Serretti and a 2-run double by Johnny Castagnozzi.
The Pirates got two runs back in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Makarewicz and a bases-loaded walk to Zach Agnos.
Caleb Roberts extended UNC’s lead to 6-2 with a 2-run double in the second. ECU closed within 6-4 in the bottom of the frame as Connor Norby singled to score Bryson Worrell and Ryder Giles came home on a sacrifice fly by Caddell.
Norby’s 2-run homer down the right field line tied the score at 6 in the fourth.
Home runs gave the Heels a 10-6 advantage. Angel Zarate launched a 2-run blast in the sixth and Roberts added a solo shot. Tyler Causey added a solo homer in the seventh.
Godwin credited a Zoom conference with former ECU ace Evan Kruczynski on Tuesday afternoon with helping the team’s focus and unity.
A.J. Wilson, C.J. Mayhue, Josh Grosz and Smith pitched scoreless relief for the Pirates. Mayhue came to the mound in the second and struck out six of 10 batters he faced.
ECU had an 18-13 lead in hits. Norby was 4-for-6 with three RBIs. Worrell was 4-for-5 with a double and two runs. Makarewicz was 3-for-6 with four RBIs. Francisco was 3-for-6 with a double and scored twice. Caddell was 2-for-2 with three RBIs and walked twice.
The thrilling triumph capped the nonconference portion of the regular season for the Pirates, who start American Athletic Conference play at home against Cincinnati on Thursday at 4 p.m.