CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — East Carolina revved up its offensive assembly line on Friday night for a 14-5 win over Oklahoma to open regional play in the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 15 Pirates (46-17) advance to take on host Virginia (46-12) in a winners bracket matchup on Saturday at 6 p.m. The 11th-ranked Cavaliers marched past Army, 15-1, in the first game at Disharoon Park on Friday.
ECU made like the Road Runner leaving Wile E. Coyote in the dust. After wasting a leadoff double by Jacob Starling in the bottom of the first, the Pirates scored in every inning thereafter.
A bases-loaded walk to Starling put ECU ahead to stay in the bottom of the second and a sacrifice fly by Carter Cunningham extended the lead to 2-0.
ECU starter Trey Yesavage (7-1) and a succession of bullpen arms effectively protected the advantage generated by the bats.
Joey Berini went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs as the second-seeded Pirates outhit the third-seeded Sooners (31-27) by a 15-9 margin.
Justin Wilcoxen had a 2-run homer in the fourth. He had a double and scored twice. Lane Hoover had three hits and scored two runs.
Cunningham contributed two hits with a double and three RBIs. Josh Moylan had two hits with a double and an RBI.
Yesavage had seven strikeouts in five and one-third innings.
“I thought we played a really complete game,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “It started on the mound with Trey. He was really good early. He pitched us out of some jams, which allowed us to get going.
“I thought Colby Bortles (ECU volunteer assistant) put together a really good plan for our offense. … We put a lot of pressure on them. I thought we played really good defense, too. I just thought we were relentless offensively, stuck to our approach and were really good.”
Jaden Winter, Jake Hunter and Erik Ritchie contributed to a total of 12 whiffs in the victory. Hunter held Oklahoma scoreless over an inning and two-thirds.
Sooners starter Braden Carmichael (7-1) was chased in the third.