CLEARWATER, FL — East Carolina’s games in the 2021 American Athletic Conference Tournament have started in similar fashion but an elimination game against Cincinnati on Tuesday had a better outcome for the Pirates.
Connor Norby led off the bottom of the first with a home run in an 11-1 loss to Memphis on Monday and the AAC Player of the Year homered again at the top of the order in the opening frame against the Bearcats.
Norby’s second solo shot of the event sparked a 13-9 ECU win.. His 3-run homer in the second provided a 5-0 lead. Norby went 3-for-4 Tuesday with five RBIs.
The top-seeded Pirates (39-14), ranked No. 11 by Division I Baseball, advance to a Friday game at 1 p.m. against the loser of a Thursday matchup between Central Florida and Memphis.
ECU has yet to pitch ace Gavin Williams (9-0) or left-hander Carson Whisenhunt (5-1) in the event at BayCare Ballpark, home of the Clearwater Threshers, the low Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Matt Bridges (4-0) got his first start of the season after 23 relief appearances and turned in two and two-thirds scoreless innings for the decision. Bridges allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five. The Pirates used a total of eight pitchers with third baseman Zach Agnos coming in for the final inning and one-third to pick up his first save.
ECU had an 11-1 lead after five innings.
Bryson Worrell had a solo homer and Lane Hoover had a run-scoring double for some breathing room in the eighth after the Bearcats (29-26) had closed within 11-8.