CHAPEL HILL — Sunday was another day in the East Carolina-North Carolina baseball series — and another 6-5 comeback victory for the Pirates.
As in Friday’s 6-5 ECU triumph in Greenville, Jacob Starling drove in the go-ahead runs.
Starling delivered on a 1-2 count on Friday with a 2-run single to center in a 6-run eighth inning for a 5-3 lead.
He was down 0-2 on Sunday when he connected for a 2-run double down the left field line to bring in Lane Hoover and Jacob Jenkins-Corwart for a 6-5 Pirates advantage, completing the scoring in a 4-run seventh.
“Same thing as Friday night,” said the junior second baseman from Orlando. “Just competing. He (Justin Szestowicki) made two good pitches. I just shortened up, tried to put the ball in play.”,
Joey Berini led off the seventh with a single to right. Cam Clonch was hit by a pitch with one out and ECU coach Cliff Godwin put in Carter Cunningham to run for Clonch.
Jenkins-Cowart singled up the middle to score Berini and pull the Pirates within 5-3. Hoover doubled down the left field line to bring in Cunningham.
UNC (4-3) got its first two batters aboard in the bottom of the ninth before Carter Spivey came in and retired the next three for the save.
A crowd of 4,042 at Boshamer Stadium saw the hosts lead 4-2 after six innings with home runs from Vance Honeycutt, Tomas Frick and Mac Horvath. Frick finished with three hits and three RBIs.
Alec Makarewicz got ECU (5-1) on the board with a solo homer to left in the fifth. The Pirates added a run in the sixth after Starling walked and Justin Wilcoxen had a single up the middle. Luke Nowak hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Starling to score.
Hoover had two of ECU’s eight hits and also was hit by a pitch.
Erik Ritchie got the win in relief.
The Pirates were ranked No. 11 last week by D1Baseball and UNC was No. 12.
ECU is scheduled to play Duke (5-2) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Blue Devils are coming off a 3-game sweep of visiting Baylor in which Duke scored 52 runs.
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