No. 25 Pirates get past Green Wave, 4-2, in 11 innings
East Carolina will meet No. 2 seed Southern Miss at 8:30 p.m. on Friday
No. 25 East Carolina was unable to protect a ninth inning lead for a second straight night, However, after falling 8-5 to Houston in their CUSA Tourney opener on Wednesday, the Pirates received a clutch two-run double by Corey Thompson and collected a 4-2, 11-inning victory over Tulane on Thursday.
ECU (38-19), which beat Tulane for the fourth time in eight days, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on a Thompson single to right. Michael Ussery led off with a walk and was advanced into scoring position by Philip Clark’s sac bunt.
Tulane (30-26) tied it up in the fourth. Designated hitter Brandon Boudreaux led off with a double to right and moved to third on Schaffer’s single to right center. The Pirates were able to minimize the damage by getting Schneeberger to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, but Boudreaux would cross the plate on the twin killing to knot things at 1-1.
East Carolina starter Mike Wright and reliever Kevin Brandt were able to escape a serious Tulane threat in the seventh. Robinson led off the frame with a double to right. Wright proceeded to hit Ryan and walk Cannizaro to load the bases. However, he got some help when third baseman Corey Thompson took a hit away from Middleton and Brandt struck out Woodson to end the rally.
Trailing 2-1, the Green Wave received a leadoff triple from Robinson to open the ninth. Ryan followed that with the game-tying single to center. With no outs, Pippin bunted Ryan into scoring position, but Brandt got Cannizaro and Middleton to line out to force extra innings.
The Pirates and Green Wave both missed golden opportunities in the tenth.
In the top of the inning, Trent Whitehead singled and advanced to third with one out. ECU would eventually load the bases with two outs, but pinch-hitter Jonathan Holt flew out to right.
An infield single and pair of walks juiced the bases for Tulane in the bottom of the frame, but Brandt got Ryan to hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice for the final out.
However, the Pirates would push across the go-ahead runs in the 11 th off the Green Wave’s Nick Pepitone. Ussery and Clark delivered consecutive one-out singles to set the stage for Thompson’s two-run double to left center.
Brandt didn’t make things easy for himself in the bottom of the inning, as he gave the first two batters free passes by hitting Pippin and walking Cannizaro. Middleton moved the tying run into scoring position, but the Pirates’ lefty struck out Woodson and got Wright to fly out to right to end the game.
ECU starter Mike Wright allowed just one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Brandt, who improved to 7-3, surrendered just one run on three hits in his 4 1/3 innings of relief.
David Napoli gave up just two runs on four hits in his six innings of work. Nick Pepitone suffered the loss and fell to 4-2. He gave up just two runs in 4.1 innings despite allowing eight hits and walking four.
Corey Thompson and Trent Whitehead led the Pirates’ 12-hit performance with three hits each.
Cody Robinson was 2-for-4 and had the only multi-hit game for the Green Wave.
No. 3 East Carolina will conclude its appearance in the CUSA Tournament on Friday when it squares off with No. 2 Southern Miss at 8:30 p.m. The Pirates, who are 1-1 in pool play, saw their championship game chances dissipate early Friday morning when Houston outlasted Southern Miss, 7-6, in 14 innings.