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Central Florida overpowers Pirates 10-6

From electronic and staff reports
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Central Florida pounded out 16 hits, including three home runs, to wear down East Carolina and pull away to a 10-6 Conference USA triumph Saturday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field.

With the teams' three-game set scheduled to wrap up with a contest on Sunday, the win clinched the series for UCF. It marked the Golden Knights' first-ever series victory over East Carolina.

No. 19 Central Florida opened the weekend by defeating the 25th-ranked Pirates 2-1 in a Friday evening pitchers' duel

On Saturday, the Pirates grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the second but UCF responded in the bottom of the inning with four runs of its own, two of which came on first baseman D.J. Hicks' homer to center field.

It was tit-for-tat over the next three frames as the Knights (19-5, 2-0 C-USA) added a run in the third and East Carolina (15-7, 0-2) tallied scores in the fourth and fifth.

But UCF took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth on round-trippers by senior rightfielder Alex Friedrich and junior catcher Ryan Breen.

A pair of relief pitchers inherited credit for the outcome. Junior lefthander Chris Matulis (3-0) got the win for the Knights and sophomore righthander Tanner Merritt (2-2) took the loss for ECU.

UCF starter Ben Lively, a sophomore righthander, lasted 1 2/3 innings, giving up three hits, a pair of walks and four runs. Junior southpaw Tyler Joyner started for East Carolina and was shelled for nine hits and five runs over three innings.

The series concludes with a nationally-televised game on Sunday (1 p.m., Fox Sports Net). After their return to Greenville, the Pirates will bus to Raleigh on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. matchup with N.C. State.

PAGE UPDATED 03/25/12 01:23 AM.

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