TAMPA — A 2-run double by Carter Cunningham capped the scoring for East Carolina in a 4-run eighth inning as the Pirates took control for an 8-3 American Athletic Conference win at South Florida on Thursday night.
The Pirates (39-15, 16-6) moved a half-game ahead of Houston (31-20, 15-6) in the AAC standings with the Cougars losing, 12-7, to visiting Cincinnati on Thursday night.
The Bulls (19-35, 7-15) took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first with the help of a 2-run homer by Drew Brutcher.
ECU pulled even with three runs in the fourth as Justin Wilcoxen had an RBI single and two runs scored on a single up the middle by Joey Berini.
ECU went ahead to stay at 4-3 on a run-scoring double by Josh Moylan in the fifth.
Danny Beal (6-1) pitched six and one-third innings of scoreless relief for the win. He struck out six with three hits and one walk.
Cunningham went 3-for-5 as the Pirates led 12-8 in hits. Cunningham had two doubles and two RBIs.
The Bulls host game two of the series on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN+).