GREENVILLE — East Carolina took advantage of 12 walks from Liberty pitchers on Friday in a 7-2 win at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates, ranked No. 12 nationally by D1Baseball, improved to 10-3 with their fourth straight win, pulling away from the Flames (7-6) after five innings produced a tie at 2.
Three runs in the sixth proved sufficient to decide the opener of a 3-game series.
Carter Cunningham, who had a solo homer in the fourth to put the Pirates in front, 2-1, led off the bottom of the sixth with a single through the right side. Cunningham went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryley Johnson.
Luke Nowak walked, and the runners moved up on a wild pitch. Successive walks to Jacob Starling and Jacob Jenkins-Cowart forced home the go-ahead run. A walk to Josh Moylan provided a 4-2 ECU lead.
A sacrifice fly by Justin Wilcoxen pushed the margin to 5-2.
Nowak had a run-scoring double in the seventh and Wilcoxen brought in the final run with a two-bagger in the eighth.
Moylan had a sacrifice fly in the third to tie the score at 1.
Trey Yesavage (2-0) started and pitched six innings for the win. He allowed six hits and two runs, both earned, while striking out six and walking one. Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman went the last three innings for his second save. He allowed four hits while fanning one.
“For Trey to go out there and give us six innings was awesome,” said Pirates coach Cliff Godwin on the ECU radio network. “Shenkman was really good for three innings.
“I don’t remember the last time we only used two pitchers in a game, but we were a little thin in the bullpen today because of the two midweek games, so those guys were outstanding.”
The second game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m.