GREENVILLE — No. 9 East Carolina scored an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday to edge visiting Memphis, 8-7, and take a 3-0 lead in the American Athletic Conference series.
With the score tied at 7, Bryson Worrell led off the last inning with a walk. Ben Newton showed bunt but slapped a single up the middle to put runners at first and second with none out.
With one away, Connor Norby nubbed a grounder that the Tigers first baseman fielded. His throw to second got the second out but the Tigers threw the ball away on an attempted double play at first that would have ended the inning.
Worrell came home with the winning run.
“I thought our guys really competed hard today,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “I was really proud of them. I thought the pitchers that came in did a good job. … It was a hard-fought win.”
Ben Newton opened the scoring for the Pirates with an RBI single in the second, but Memphis went up 3-1 in the third on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Goodman and a 2-run homer by Alec Trela.
ECU got three runs in the bottom of the third for a 4-3 lead as Thomas Francisco homered to right and Worrell had a 2-run double.
Newton’s sacrifice fly in the fifth and Josh Moylan’s RBI ground out in the sixth pushed the Pirates’ lead to 6-3.
Goodman had a 2-run single in the seventh to close the gap to 6-5. Lane Hoover singled to drive in a run for the Pirates in the seventh for a 7-5 lead.
Braden Webb had a 2-run single in the eighth that tied the score at 7, Garrett Saylor (3-0) got a strikeout to strand two runners in the eighth.
Norby, Francisco, Worrell and Newton had two hits each as the Pirates improved to 25-5 overall and 7-0 in league play. Worrell drew three walks and had two RBIs.
Memphis slipped to 11-18 overall and 1-6 in the AAC.
The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 11:30 a.m.