No. 30 East Carolina (19-8, 4-2 Conference USA) defeated UAB, 6-5, in 13 innings on Sunday afternoon to capture its first sweep of a league opponent thus far in 2012.
The Pirates used a furious three-run rally in the ninth to send the game into extra frames before Ben Fultz delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly to center field in the 13th to give ECU the victory and the sweep.
UAB fell to 17-12 overall, while its league record dropped to 2-4.
Here's more insight into all three weekend games...
Friday: East Carolina 11, UAB 6
- East Carolina fell behind 5-0, but scored nine unanswered runs over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to grab an 11-6 win.
- Senior lefty Kevin Brandt lasted just three innings - his shortest outing of the year - and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits while walking and striking out a pair.
- Freshman right-hander Dylan Dickens - Friday marked his third appearance of the campaign - relieved Brandt and was masterful, using a vast array of sidearm breaking balls to silence the Blazer bats. The seldomly-used Dickens (1-0) earned the win and yielded just three hits in four scoreless innings of work while striking out two.
- Tanner Merritt picked up the save as he worked 1 2/3 perfect frames to close out the victory.
- Jay Cannon picked up a career-best four hits and added three runs for the Pirates. John Wooten extended his hitting streak to 12 games behind a 2-for-5 performance in which he drove in and scored two runs. Tim Younger laced the game-winning single through the middle of the infield in the bottom of the 7th, which gave ECU a 7-6 lead - one it would not relinquish.
Saturday: East Carolina 12, UAB 2
- Seemingly fearful of falling behind out of the gates for the second consecutive matchup, the Pirates plated a run in the first and five in the second to seize a commanding 6-0 lead. That was more than enough for junior southpaw Tyler Joyner. He fired the first complete-game of his career, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits while issuing just one free pass and striking out a personal-best eight batters. Joyner needed just 101 pitches - 72 for strikes - to record 27 outs.
- The Pirates racked up 12 hits as a team and two five-run frames - the second and the eighth.
- Drew Reynolds collected a career-high four RBIs, including a three-run bomb in the eighth - and Corey Thompson notched a trio of base knocks and scored two runs to lead ECU offensively.
- Younger scored three runs while Reynolds, Jack Reinheimer and Zach Wright each crossed home on two occasions.
Sunday: East Carolina 6, UAB 5 (13 innings)
- Like Friday, the Pirate bullpen was spectacular. After junior right-hander Jharel Cotton was lifted after allowing a leadoff single to begin the third stanza, Andy Smithmyer came to the mound and once again performed brilliantly. The junior college transfer surrendered two runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out one in four innings of work.
- Merritt continued his weekend dominance and hurled 2 2/3 frames of perfect baseball. In two appearances (Friday and Sunday), Merritt pitched 4 1/3 flawless innings and struck out five.
- Jake Harris retired the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth. Reynolds (2-0) earned the win after throwing a career-high four stanzas in which he allowed just one single and one walk. The sophomore utilityman struck out a personal-best six batters. The Cherryville, N.C. native also racked up three hits at the plate and scored two runs.
- The 'pen did its job of holding UAB at-bay while the ECU offense mounted a furious rally. Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth and the bases loaded, Ben Fultz - who reached on a one-out double - came around to score on a wild pitch. Wright and Bryan Bass advanced into scoring position following the errant offering and pinch-hitter Chase McDonald muscled a 1-2 breaking ball from UAB's Ryan Nance into center field for the game-tying, two-run single.
- In the 13th, Reynolds reached after being hit by a pitch. Thompson then executed a perfect hit-and-run play by serving a single into right to put runners at the corners with nobody out. The Blazers intentionally walked John Wooten to set up a force out at every base, but the didn't get the groundball they were looking for. Ben Fultz drove the first pitch he saw from Nance deep to center field for the game-winning sacrifice fly.
- Wooten (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 R) and Bass (two hits) also led the Pirates offensively.
- After dominating in Friday's series-opening victory, the bullpen backed up its outing with another stellar showing in the finale. In two games, the relievers threw 17 innings allowing 12 hits and three runs (two earned) while walking just a pair of hitters and striking out 15.
- Following the weekend, East Carolina finds itself tied with Rice at 4-2 in conference play. Each team trails UCF (5-1) by a full game in the league standings.
The Pirates return to action on Tuesday night at UNC Wilmington for a matchup with the former Colonial Athletic Association foe. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EST). Check out the '10th Inning' on Monday night for an in-depth look into the midweek showdown.