CINCINNATI — Home runs from Jacob Jenkins-Cowart and Jacob Starling accounted for five runs as East Carolina topped Cincinnati, 8-4, on Saturday to even the American Athletic Conference series.
The third and deciding game is scheduled for Sunday at noon.
The Pirates (15-13, 1-1 AAC) went ahead to stay when Ben Newton scored on a single to center by Lane Hoover in the top of the third.
Alec Makarewicz walked to start the sixth and Bryson Worrell had a one-out single after Makarewicz was retired at second on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Starling. Newton’s ground out put runners at second and third with two away.
Jenkins-Cowart connected with an 0-1 pitch for his fourth homer of the season and a 4-0 lead.
Max Palmieri had a 2-run double for the Bearcats (10-15, 1-1) in the sixth.
The Pirates extended the lead to 5-2 in the seventh as a sacrifice fly by Cam Clonch scored Hoover.
Griffin Merritt and Cole Harting drove in runs for Cincinnati in the seventh to trim ECU’s lead to 5-4.
The Pirates added three runs in the ninth on an RBI double by Makarewicz and Starling’s 2-run drive to left.
Ryder Giles (2-0) started and went four and one-third innings for the win. He allowed four hits and no runs with two walks and four strikeouts. C.J. Mayhue and Carter Spivey contributed relief stints before Garrett Saylor got the last three outs for his second save.