TAMPA — In control of their fate in the American Athletic Conference regular season race since Houston’s loss on Thursday, East Carolina clinched the title with a 7-1 win Saturday to complete a 3-game sweep at South Florida.
The Pirates have won four straight AAC regular season championships.
“I’m just excited for our guys, especially those fifth-year seniors, to have done it four years in a row,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin on Pirate radio. “It’s not easy. It’s a lot harder when you’re the hunted compared to when nobody is looking for you to be any good. Just so proud of our guys.”
The Pirates (41-15, 18-6 AAC) had to rally in the first two games of the series, but never trailed on Saturday after a 2-run double by Josh Moylan in the top of the third.
ECU starter Trey Yesavage continued to work his way back from some arm soreness. He was nicked for a homer by Drew Brutcher in the third, the lone run for the Bulls (19-37, 7-17). Yesavage threw 73 pitches in four innings. He allowed three hits while walking three and striking out one.
One of the fifth-year seniors, Garrett Saylor (2-0), went the last five innings. He yielded three hits and no walks while striking out a pair.
The Pirates added two runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Carter Cunningham and a ground out RBI by Moylan.
Luke Nowak scored on Joey Berini’s ground out for a 5-1 lead in the sixth.
Cunningham had an RBI single and Moylan had a solo homer to left center to close the scoring in the seventh.
ECU outhit the hosts, 10-6, as Moylan went 2-for-5 with four RBIs.’
The top-seeded Pirates will match up with USF again on opening day of the AAC Tournament at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, FL on Tuesday in the second game of the event. Starting time will be 47 minutes after the completion of the first game, which is scheduled for 9 a.m.