GREENVILLE — A Clark-LeClair Stadium record crowd of 5,603 was on its feet in the top of the ninth inning with two out and the bases loaded as Zach Agnos got a game-ending strikeout to save a 4-2 East Carolina win over Virginia in the Greenville regional of the NCAA Tournament.
The Pirates won their 20th straight and are 2-0 in the regional. ECU (44-18) will play again on Sunday at 6 p.m. against the winner of an elimination game between the Cavaliers and Coastal Carolina, which is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Pirates can close out the regional with a win Sunday evening. An ECU loss would mean a deciding game on Monday in the double-elimination format.
Josh Moylan put the Pirates ahead to stay with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the second inning. Moylan said he got the pitch he was looking for on the first offering from lefty Brian Gursky — a fast ball down the middle that tailed in to the left-handed hitter. He launched it to right-center, scoring Ben Newton, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
Chris Newell homered for the Cavs in the fifth.
Virginia (39-18) added another run in the seventh, but ECU answered each tally. Justin Wilcoxen had a solo homer in the fifth and the Pirates manufactured a run in the seventh after Alec Makarewicz drew a leadoff walk.
ECU coach Cliff Godwin pinch hit Ryder Giles to bunt. Makarewicz moved to second on a passed ball before Giles’ sacrifice advanced him to third. Agnos hit a sacrifice fly to center to provide a 4-2 lead.
C.J. Mayhue (5-1) started and went five innings for the Pirates. He allowed three hits, one run (earned) and struck out two without a walk. Garrett Saylor went one and one-third inning with no hits, an earned run, one walk and one whiff. Carter Spivey yielded three hits in two innings with no runs, no walks and two whiffs.
Spivey got a strikeout looking to start the ninth but Godwin turned to Agnos after a pair of singles. Giles came in to play short as Agnos took the mound. A walk loaded the bases but Agnos got the next two batters swinging.
Agnos made a leaping, backhanded grab at short on a liner in the sixth.
“Agnos is just a great college baseball player,” said Virginia coach Brian O’Connor. “To play shortstop and make the plays he made — and then to come in and finish that game out speaks to the kind of player he is, the character that he has and the competitive spirit he has.
“That showed tonight. I tip my cap to him. He did a terrific job.”