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Pirates shell UCF in series finale

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East Carolina turned its bats loose on Central Florida early and led from start to finish in dealing a 15-6 thrashing to the Golden Knights in a Conference USA game Sunday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field.

Sophomore shortstop Jack Reinheimer was 5-for-6 to spearhead an ECU barrage of 19 hits. Senior second baseman Tim Younger, junior outfielder/first baseman John Wooten and junior outfielder Jay Cannon added three hits apiece to the offensive onslaught. Senior catcher Corey Thompson's two hits included a two-run homer.

The Pirates (16-7, 1-2 C-USA) scored two runs in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth before UCF (19-6, 2-1) got on the scoreboard with single runs in the fourth and fifth.

East Carolina added a run in the sixth and exploded for five runs in the seventh for a comfortable 11-2 lead. Both teams put four runs on the board in an anticlimactic ninth inning.

Junior righthander Jharel Cotton (5-0) cruised seven innings for the Pirates and picked up the win. Cotton struck out 11, scattered 10 hits and surrendered one walk and a pair of runs.

Freshman righthander Jeff Hoffman came on in relief and pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth. The Pirates led 15-4 when sophomore lefthander Drew Reynolds took the mound in the ninth and was roughed up for four hits and four runs before retiring the side.

Lanky southpaw Eric Skoglund (3-1) started for the Knights and absorbed his first loss. The 6-foot-7 freshman was chased after giving up four hits, a pair of walks and four runs over 2 1/3 innings.

East Carolina avoided a weekend sweep with the victory. No. 19 Central Florida nipped the 25th-ranked Pirates 2-1 in a Friday evening pitchers' duel and pounded three homers in a 10-6 win on Saturday.

East Carolina will hit the road again on Wednesday, this time for a short bus trip to Raleigh for a 6 p.m. matchup with N.C. State. The Pirates edged the Wolpack 6-5 last Tuesday in Greenville.

PAGE UPDATED 03/26/12 01:23 AM.

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