CLEARWATER, FL — East Carolina overcame an early 4-0 deficit against Tulane on Saturday for an 8-5 win and a berth in the championship game of the American Athletic Conference tournament.
The Pirates (41-18), ranked No. 23 by Division I Baseball and winners of 17 straight, will play Central Florida or Houston for the title on Sunday at noon (ESPN News) at BayCare Ballpark.
Home runs by Bennett Lee, Luis Aviles and Brennan Lambert in the first two innings helped the Green Wave (33-26-1) to a 4-0 lead. Tulane was the only AAC team to win a series with the Pirates in 2022.
ECU began its comeback Saturday morning with a home run by Zach Agnos in the third.
The Pirates tied the score at 4 in the fourth after a 1-out single by Jacob Jenkins-Cowart. Ben Newton got aboard on an error before Josh Moylan’s RBI double down the right field line cut the lead to 4-2.
A sacrifice fly by Jacob Starling scored Newton and Joey Berini’s single to right brought in Moylan with the tying run.
ECU went ahead to stay in the fifth on a 2-run double by Newton.
Jenkins-Cowart had a 2-run homer in the seventh.
Tulane scored once in the ninth before Garrett Saylor came in to leave the bases loaded with a game-ending strikeout for his fifth save.
Carter Spivey (7-0), the AAC Pitcher of the Year, threw four and one-third innings of scoreless relief for the win.