Pirates Pick-Up Win Over Tar Heels, 3-2

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Zach Houchins
Senior Zach Houchins

April 22, 2014

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Ryan Williams picked up his nation leading 10th win, while Zach Houchins went 4-for-4 with a run scored Tuesday night helping East Carolina to a 3-2 non-conference win over North Carolina at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Hunter Allen's RBI single to left center in the bottom of the eighth scored pinch runner Ben Fultz from third extending the Pirates (25-17) lead to 3-1. Bryce Harman reached on an infield single to second to start the inning and was immediately lifted for Fultz, who took second on Charlie Yorgen's infield single to short. Garrett Brooks dropped down a sac but to the pitcher that allowed both Fultz and Yorgen to move into scoring position. Allen, who made his first start since the opening game of the Old Dominion series, slashed a single to left center easily scoring Fultz for the game-winning run.

Ryan Williams (10-2) earned the win allowing one run (unearned) o two hits with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings. He becomes the first 10-game winner since Seth Maness recorded back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2010 and 2011. Lefty Reid Love was solid in his ninth start of the season allowing one run (earned) on seven hits with three walks and one punch out in 4.2 innings of work.

Taylore Cherry (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season surrendering two runs (both earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings. Trevor Kelley tossed three innings of relief allowing a run (earned) on three hits, while Zach Rice worked two-thirds of an inning in the eighth.

ECU took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning when Drew Reynolds scored on a Cherry wild pitch. Reynolds, who posted his 18th multi-hit game of the year led off with a single to center and took third on the second of Houchins' four hits, a double down the left field line. Reynolds sprinted home on the Cherry miscue with one out in the frame.

Ian Townsend, who recorded five putouts in the game, made a highlight catch in right field in the fourth robbing Korey Dunbar of a possible home run. Townsend jumped waist high over the right field wall corralling the ball to save a run, which proved to be huge in a one-run game.

The Tar Heels (23-18) knotted the game at one-all in the fifth thanks to Landon Lassiter's first home run of the season, which came with one out.

But the Pirates got the run back in the bottom half of the frame thanks to Townsend's RBI double to right center that pushed scored Houchins from second. Houchins roped is second double of the night with one out sending a shot to left center before Townsend drove in his team-leading 29th run.

North Carolina made things interesting in the top of the ninth pushing across a run making it a 3-2 contest. With out in the frame, Zach Daly reached on a Yorgen error at second and Michael Russell followed with a single through the left side. Wood Myers plated Daly with a base hit up the middle before Williams got pinch hitter Joe Dudek to fly out to right center and fanned Skye Bolt to end the contest.

Offensively, the Pirates recorded 11 hits getting four from Houchins (tied career-high) and a pair from Reynolds and Allen. Reynolds extended his current hit streak to 10 games with a single in the first, while Yorgen's moved to a career-best eight games with his base hit in the eighth.

The win over the Tar Heels is the first for the Pirates since April 22, 2009 - five years to the date - when Kevin Brandt tossed 8.1 innings of shutout ball leading ECU a 4-0 victory over the No. 1 team in the land.

ECU will hit the road this weekend for a three-game Conference USA series at Florida Atlantic starting Friday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. (ET).