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Pirates pull away in eighth

Staff report
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA East Carolina broke open a pitching duel with seven runs in the eighth inning to defeat Bryant 9-1 in the Pirates' NCAA Tournament opener on Friday.

Third-seeded ECU (35-21-1) advances to play Virginia (38-20) at 6 p.m. today. The top-seeded Cavaliers rolled to a 17-4 win over fourth-seeded William & Mary in Friday's first game at Davenport Field.

Second-seeded Bryant (47-11) and the Tribe (29-30) meet in an elimination game at 11 a.m. today.

James Karinchak (12-3) of the Bulldogs and ECU junior left-hander Evan Kruczynski (7-1) each pitched six shutout innings before the Pirates got on the board in the seventh, taking a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harman.

Travis Watkins drew a walk to start the seventh and Eric Tyler singled to right center to put runners on the corners. The Bulldogs brought in left-hander Justin Snyder before Harman hit a 1-0 pitch to center.

ECU's big frame began with a single by Charlie Yorgen. He went to second on a ground out by Dwanya Williams-Sutton. Turner Brown had an RBI single up the middle for a 2-0 Pirates lead.

Watkins singled to put runners at first and third for an RBI double down the right field line by Garrett Brooks. Tyler was intentionally walked to load the bases.

A walk to Harman forced in a run for a 4-0 lead. A wild pitch allowed Brooks to score for a 5-0 ECU advantage.

Kirk Morgan entered the game for Luke Bolka and had a two-run single up the middle. Yorgen's RBI double brought in the final run of the inning for an 8-0 Pirates lead.

Six of ECU's 11 hits came in the eighth inning.

Jeff Nelson was hit by a pitch to start the ninth. He went to second on a wild pitch and took third on a single by Watkins. Brooks had a double that scored Nelson and put the Pirates ahead, 9-0.

A pair of walks in the bottom of the ninth helped Bryant avoid a shutout on an RBI ground out by Robby Rinn. Davis Kirkpatrick was charged with the run.

Kruczynski went seven innings as ECU won its first NCAA Tournament opener since topping Binghamton 11-7 in Greenville in 2009. Kruczynski allowed six hits and walked three while striking out six.

Freshmen Matt Bridges and Chris Holba each pitched a hitless, scoreless frame for the Pirates.

Yorgen and Watkins both had three hits. Brooks was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

The contest was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday but the start time was moved to 4 p.m. because of rain in the forecast. With a weather delay, the first pitch was at 5:50 p.m.

PAGE UPDATED 06/04/16 01:45 AM.

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