CLEARWATER, FL — Bryson Worrell answered a South Florida grand slam with one of his own to lift East Carolina to a 7-4 win in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament at BayCare Ballpark on Tuesday.
The top-seeded Pirates (39-18) advance to meet fourth-seeded Cincinnati (24-29) on Thursday at 1 p.m. The Bearcats downed fifth-seeded Tulane, 8-1, on Tuesday.
After Nelson Rivera’s grand slam gave the Bulls (28-28) a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning on Tuesday, ECU loaded the bases with consecutive 2-out singles by Joey Berini, Zach Agnos and Lane Hoover, who reached on a bunt.
The switch-hitting Worrell faced Orion Kerkering (5-7) batting left-handed and connected with a 1-0 pitch for a bases-clearing blast to right field.
Worrell had thrown out a runner at the plate from center field for a double play to end the top half of the sixth.
“I just threw it as hard as I could,” Worrell said. “Ben (Newton) made a heckuva play behind the plate.”
Agnos (3-0) picked up the win in relief and Ben Terwilliger tossed the last two innings for his fifth save,
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second as Alec Makarewicz walked and scored on a triple by Josh Moylan.
ECU added two runs in the third after a leadoff single by Agnos. Worrell walked before two wild pitches allowed Agnos to score, Newton’s single to center brought in Worrell for a 3-0 lead.
“Great response,” said Pirates coach Cliff Godwin. “We were up 3-0 and got a little comfortable. Glad we responded after we got behind on the grand slam.”