Pirates top Tigers, 5-2, in series opener
Brandt earns fifth win as East Carolina beats Memphis
Kevin Brandt turned in six-plus strong innings of work and Jack Reinheimer drove in two runs as No. 24 East Carolina recorded a 5-2 victory in its series opener at Memphis on Friday night.
The Pirates (24-9-1, 7-2-1) had their struggles against Memphis' ace Dan Langfield, but they managed to post an early 2-0 lead against the Tigers' hard-throwing righty when Jack Reinheimer delivered a two-run double with two outs in the top of the second.
However, Memphis (15-19, 5-5) got on the board in the bottom of the frame with a run-scoring single by Tucker Tubbs.
The Tigers proceeded to tie the game with a single run in the third, but had a chance to do more damage against ECU starter Kevin Brandt. They loaded the bases with no outs, but the Pirates' senior southpaw got Eli Hynes grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Jacob Wilson to ground out to second to escape the jam with just one run crossing the plate.
After Reinheimer's two-run double in the second, Langfield proceeded to sit down nine straight before Philip Clark reached on an error with two outs in the fifth.
Following three hitless frames, East Carolina received a single from Corey Thompson to open the sixth and the Pirates had runners on first and second with no outs after John Wooten reached on an error. Jay Cannon was unable to advance the runners with his attempted sac bunt, but Wooten advanced to third when Zach Wright hit into a fielder's choice. The ECU third baseman then crossed the plate via a passed ball to score what would prove to be the winning run.
The Pirates tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and ninth.
Reinheimer started the seventh with a single and was bunted into scoring position by Philip Clark. After Younger struck out, Drew Reynolds singled to right to make it 4-2.
ECU did more two out damage in its final at-bat when Younger produced a run-scoring double off Memphis' reliever Patrick Bailey.
Tanner Merritt worked 2.2 scoreless innings of relief to notch his sixth save of the season. Memphis' Adam McClain greeted Merritt with an infield single, but the ECU reliever retired eight straight to end the game.
Reinheimer went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead ECU. Jay Cannon, who went 2-for-4 was the only other Pirate to post a multi-hit game.
The Tigers, who were outhit 8-7, were led by leadoff man Ethan Gross' 2-for-5 effort.
Brandt, who improves to 5-2, allowed two runs--one earned--on six hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Langfield suffered the loss for Memphis after allowing four runs--three earned--on five hits in seven innings of work. He struck out eight and walked just one.
The teams will continue their series on Saturday with game two scheduled for 3 p.m. (EST) at FedExPark.