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East Carolina Caps Perfect Weekend

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The Pirates could not have started their road trip to Alabama on a more negative note.

Following an 8-2 setback against Troy on Wednesday night, ECU headed into the weekend against three quality opponents - one which was ranked in the nation's top-15 - with a lopsided loss under its belt.

The trio of weekend contests could not have been more different than Wednesday's fiasco at Troy.

With a 9-4 victory over No. 20 Louisville on Sunday afternoon, the Pirates capped a perfect 3-0 weekend and head into the middle of March with an impressive 11-3 record.

Here's more insight into the Pirates three victory over No. 20 Louisville in the finale of the DRASH Classic.

 

No. 29 East Carolina 9, No. 20 Louisville 4

- Junior right-hander Jharel Cotton was not at his best on Sunday, but a gutsy performance by the Virgin Islands product kept ECU in the ballgame. The effort was even enough for Cotton to add another win to his outstanding start in 2012. He battled through five innings allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits while issuing five free passes and recording five punchouts. ECU's seemingly set weekend rotation - Brandt, Joyner and Cotton - are now a combined 9-1 this year with the lone loss attributed to Brandt in the Pirates' LeClair Classic opener against Purdue.

- Louisville scored in the bottom of the first, but it was the last lead of the day for the Cardinals. East Carolina tallied four runs in the top of the second to claim the lead for good - a stanza highlighted by a Ben Fultz two-run single to center.

- Sophomore Drew Reynolds recorded his first career home run, a solo blast down the right-field line to give the Pirates a 6-4 lead in the top of the eighth. Reynolds finished the tournament 7-for-11 experiencing his first career three-game stretch as a fixture in the starting nine. 

- Freshman Jeff Hoffman continued his dominance out of the bullpen. In his initial season, Hoffman is yet to give up an earned run with his most recent performance coming on Sunday as he relived Cotton in the sixth and tossed four no-hit innings striking out one and collecting his first collegiate save.

 

DRASH Classic All-Tourney Team

SP: Kevin Brandt (W) - 8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K

SP: Tyler Joyner (W) - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K

RP: Tanner Merritt (2 SV) - 1.1 IP, 2 K

C: Zach Wright - 4-for-11, 4 RBIs; The senior catcher drove in three runs in ECU's 4-2 victory over Oral Roberts on Saturday.

OF: Ben Fultz - 3-for-9, 2 RBIs

Tournament MVP: Drew Reynolds - The Cherryville, N.C., native received the starting nod at the designated hitter position and didn't disappoint. He finished the weekend 7-for-11 and belted his first career round-tripper in a 9-4 win over Louisville.

**This list is unofficial; these are my personal choices.**

 

- Because of a stomach virus that has made its way through the club, Zach Wright (catcher), Jack Reinheimer (shortstop) and Tim Younger (second base) are the only Pirates to start all 14 games at the same position.

- East Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium on Tuesday, March 13 for a tilt against former Colonial Athletic Association foe Virginia Commonwealth. The Pirates and Rams square off with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.

Check out the '10th Inning' and ecupirates.com between now and Tuesday's game for extensive coverage as the Pirates look to improve to 12-3 with Conference USA play on the horizon.

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