CLEARWATER, FL — Tulane became the lowest seed to win the American Athletic Conference tournament with an 8-6 victory over No. 15 East Carolina, the top seed, at BayCare Ballpark on Sunday.
The Green Wave (19-40), the No. 7 seed for the league event, used a 3-run fifth inning to take the lead for keeps.
Down 8-6 going to the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates (45-17) started the inning with singles from Josh Moylan and Cam Clonch. Ryley Johnson missed on a pair of bunt attempts before hitting a grounder to first that resulted in pinch runner Dixon Williams being forced out at second.
Johnson was called out at second on a steal attempt for the second out. The play was reviewed but the call was not changed. Ryan McCrystal pinch hit for exhausted catcher Justin Wilcoxen. His fly to left ended the game.
The Pirates went 4-2 in the event that started Tuesday, including a pair of wins over South Florida on Saturday.
“We just didn’t have any gas left in the tank after coming through the losers’ bracket,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “We looked like we could read the label on our bats because they were so slow through the zone.”
The Pirates summoned the energy for four runs in the first inning after the Green Wave had scored three times in the top of the frame.
Wilcoxen had a 2-run single before Tulane miscues contributed to a pair of runs for a 4-3 ECU lead.
Moylan’s run-scoring double in the second produced a 5-3 lead.
Moylan and Joey Berini each had two hits for the Pirates. Starter Zach Root (3-3) pitched into the fifth and was charged with the loss.
ECU will watch the seeding show for the NCAA Tournament on Monday (ESPN2, noon) in the TowneBank Tower at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.