GREENVILLE — No. 11 East Carolina scored six runs in the eighth inning to overcome a 3-0 deficit and defeat No. 12 North Carolina, 6-5, on Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The decisive frame started with a full-count walk to Alec Makarewicz. Connor Rasmussen hit into a fielder’s choice that retired Makarewicz and Pirates coach Cliff Godwin inserted Ryley Johnson to run for Rasmussen. Josh Moylan sent a 1-2 pitch from Dalton Pence down the right field line for an RBI double.
Joey Berini followed with an RBI double down the left field line to pull ECU within 3-2.
Jacob Jenkins-Cowart singled through the left side to put runners at the corners. Nathan Chrismon came in to run for Berini. Cameron Padgett, who relieved Pence, mishandled a grounder by Lane Hoover to allow the tying run.
A fly out brought up Jacob Starling and his 2-run single to center sent the record crowd of 6,003 into a euphoric frenzy as ECU took a 5-3 lead.
Starling stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and came home for a crucial run on s single through the left side by Luke Nowak.
ECU (4-1) withstood a rally by the Tar Heels (4-2), who scored two runs in the top of the ninth after a dropped fly ball with one out on RBI doubles by Vance Honeycutt and Mac Horvath.
UNC had taken a 3-0 lead on a solo homer by Jackson Van De Brake in the third and a 2-run double by Colby Wilkerson in the seventh.
The visitors had the potential tying run at third in the ninth when Zach Root picked up the save on a game-ending fly to left.
“The crowd got into it finally because we actually did something,” said Godwin on the Pirate radio network. “You could see the momentum just swing into our dugout. We wouldn’t have won tonight if the crowd hadn’t been here.”
Trey Yesavage started and went six innings with eight strikeouts for ECU. Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman (1-1) got the win.
A Saturday matchup between the rivals in Greenville has been postponed due to the forecast for rain. ECU plays at UNC on Sunday at 1 p.m.