CINCINNATI — After topping Cincinnati, 8-4, in the first game of an American Athletic Conference doubleheader on Friday, East Carolina dropped game two, 7-6, as the Bearcats scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the tenth.
Gavin Williams improved to 8-0 in the series opener as he started and went six innings. Williams allowed five hits, two runs (both earned) with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Jake Kuchmaner pitched two innings of relief. Garrett Saylor and Cam Colmore combined to hold Cincinnati scoreless in the ninth.
Connor Norby and Thomas Francisco were each 2-for-4 and scored twice in the opener. Seth Caddell hit a home run and two RBIs. Zach Agnos and Ryder Giles each drove in a pair of runs.
In the second game, Josh Moylan had a 2-run double for ECU in the fifth inning for a 4-3 lead.
Ryan Nicholson’s 2-run single in the bottom of the fifth put Cincinnati ahead, 5-4. Garrett Chandler scored on a passed ball for the Pirates to tie the score at 5 in the ninth.
With Francisco on second to start the tenth, ECU took a 6-5 lead on a sacrifice bunt by Alec Makarewicz after a fly ball by Caddell allowed Francisco to move to third.
Cincy’s Cole Harting had an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to knot the score and the Bearcats’ winning run came in on a throwing error.
Colemore (5-1) was charged with the loss.
Game three of the series is Saturday at 4 p.m.
The doubleheader split, which left the Pirates 34-11 overall and 16-6 in the AAC, did little to clear up questions about ECU’s potential destination in the postseason. Earlier on Friday the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee named the Pirates among 20 teams under consideration for hosting the 16 NCAA regionals that will begin play on Friday, June 4.
In other conference action on Friday host Tulane (27-17, 16-5 AAC) swept a doubleheader from Central Florida to move half a game ahead of ECU in the battle for the league’s regular season title.
The Pirates had moved into first place last weekend by defeating the Wave three games to one in a series in Greenville.