TAMPA — East Carolina’s pursuit of the regular-season championship in the American Athletic Conference was completed on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
That’s when the Pirates finished a doubleheader sweep at South Florida. Eight minutes earlier, Cincinnati wrapped up a twinbill triumph against Tulane.
The outcomes gave ECU a 2.5-game lead in the AAC standings over the Green Wave, a sufficient cushion for a second straight regular-season league crown for the Pirates, who successfully followed up on a regular season conference title in 2019, the last time a league schedule was played..
ECU improved to 38-11 overall and 20-6 in the AAC with wins over the Bulls (22-26, 12-14) by scores of 10-1 and 5-2.
Gavin Williams (9-0) was dominant for six innings in the opener, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out 11 without a walk. Danny Beal and Nick Logusch combined to keep the Bulls scoreless over the last three frames.
Bryson Worrell was 3-for-5 with a pair of triples as the Pirates outhit the hosts 16-4 in the first game. Connor Norby was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Lane Hoover went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Zach Agnos, Ryder Giles and Ryley Johnson had two hits each,
Seth Caddell drove in the go-ahead run as ECU scored twice in the fifth for a 3-1 lead. Norby and Hoover each had 2-run singles as the Pirates added seven runs in the sixth.
Senior Cam Colmore (6-1) got the win in relief of Tyler Smith in the second game and classmate Matt Bridges picked up his third save.
ECU scored all five of its runs in the third inning with the help of a 3-run homer to right by Worrell. Caddell went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Ben Newton had a double.
In Cincinnati, the Bearcats won by scores of 10-6 and 11-8, overcoming a 6-1 deficit in the second game.
The Pirates continue the 4-game series at USF with a single contest on Friday at 3 p.m.