CINCINNATI — A 4-run seventh inning keyed East Carolina to a 7-6 American Athletic Conference win at Cincinnati on Saturday.
The Pirates (35-11, 17-6 AAC) took a 2-1 series lead over the Bearcats (25-23, 14-13). The final game of the 4-game set is Sunday at 11 a.m.
ECU’s win and Tulane’s 6-4 loss to Central Florida on Saturday gave the Pirates a half-game lead over the Green Wave (27-18, 16-6) in the AAC standings.
Connor Norby started the seventh with a double to left field. Thomas Francisco singled through the left side to put runners on the corners. Seth Caddell singled to left to bring in Norby and cut Cincinnati’s lead to 5-4.
Lane Hoover was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Zach Agnos drew a walk to tie the score. Bryson Worrell put the Pirates ahead with a sacrifice fly to right.
Josh Moylan had an RBI single through the left side for a 7-5 lead.
The hosts put up a run in the eighth but C.J. Mayhue recorded a strikeout to leave the bases loaded.
Mayhue retired the Bearcats in order in the ninth for his seventh save.
Garrett Saylor (4-1) got the win in relief, striking out three of the six batters he faced.
Carson Whisenhunt started and went four and one-third innings, throwing 75 pitches. He allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) while walking one with four strikeouts.
ECU went ahead 1-0 in the second when Lane Hoover scored on a wild pitch.
A pair of runs in the fifth put the Pirates ahead, 3-2. Hoover had an RBI single and Agnos put down a sacrifice bunt to score Francisco.
Norby went 3-for-5 and raised his average to .421. Francisco was 2-for-5 as ECU had a 10-9 edge in hits. Agnos had a pair of RBIs.