Pirates can't hold off Cougar rally, drop opener, 8-5
No. 3 East Carolina will meet No. 7 Tulane at 5pm on Thursday
Houston trailed 5-3 after eight, but the Cougars exploded for five runs in the ninth to capture an 8-5 comeback win over No. 3 East Carolina on Wednesday.
Following three scoreless frames, the Cougars (26-30) were able to get to Pirate starter Shawn Armstrong in the fourth.
Chase Jensen and Joel Ansley led off the inning with consecutive singles before John Cannon was plunked to load the bases. After Codey Morehouse fouled out, Armstrong hit Landon Appling to plate the game's first run. Ryan Still's single to center made it 2-0 before a Caleb Ramsey sac fly to left capped the scoring for the inning.
However, Mannisto settled down and allowed just one hit the rest of the way. It stayed 5-3 until the ninth and that's when things got crazy.
East Carolina's Brad Mincey allowed just two hits through his first 4 2/3 innings of work in relief of starter Shawn Armstrong, but he was roughed up in the ninth. He retired the leadoff man, but Davis and Jensen delivered back-to-back doubles to cut the deficit to 5-4. An Ansley single up the middle tied the contest at 5-5.
Billy Godwin opted to insert closer Seth Simmons, but he wouldn't fair any better than Mincey. The first batter he faced, John Cannon, singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Codey Morehouse laid down a bunt to bring Ansley home and give Houston a 6-5 advantage. The Cougars added two insurance runs, as Landon Appling produced a run-scoring single and later scored on a wild pitch.
Corey Thompson and John Wooten had two-hit games to lead a Pirate line-up that featured all nine starters collecting atleast one hit.
The Cougars, who outhit East Carolina 14-7, were led by the three-hit efforts of Ryan Still and Chase Jensen. Half of Houston's hits came in the decisive five-run ninth.
Jordan Mannisto (4-3) settled down after a rough start to collect the relief victory. He allowed two runs on four hits in five innings of action.
Mincey, who worked five innings of relief for ECU, took the loss to fall to 5-4. He allowed three runs on five hits while striking out seven.
No. 25 East Carolina will continue play in the CUSA Tournament on Thursday when it faces No. 7 seed Tulane at 5pm (EST). The Pirates swept the Green Wave in New Orleans last weekend.