GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – East Carolina sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth inning and plated five runs to get some much-needed insurance to pick up the first win in the best-of-three series against Texas Friday afternoon in Greenville.
The Pirates’ 13-7 win puts them just win away from their first-ever trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
East Carolina (46-19) shook off a two-run home run from redshirt senior infielder Murphy Stehly in the top of the first inning thanks to a 2-RBI single from freshman outfielder Jacob Jenkins-Cowart and a passed ball from Longhorns’ (45-20) starting pitcher Pete Hansen.
The Pirates then added three runs in a single frame again when sophomore infielder Jacob Starling hit a moonshot out to ‘The Jungle’ to score him and sophomore catcher Ben Newton who got on earlier in the inning.
Senior outfielder Bryson Worrell then hit a homer of his own in the bottom of the fifth after the Pirates chased Hansen out of the game. He took the first pitch from Texas reliever Zane Morehouse to right center to give ECU a 7-2 lead.
But, the Longhorns would climb back.
Redshirt junior Ivan Melendez and Stehly would hit back-to-back homers in the top of the sixth after ECU starting pitcher C.J. Mayhue held Texas to two runs through five innings. The Longhorns then added their fifth run on their fourth homerun of the ball game in the bottom of the seventh to make it 7-5.
The game continued as a back-and-forth slugfest, with Texas making it as close as a one run game (8-7), but the Pirates continued counter-punching and picking up key defensive plays when the team seemed to need it the most.
Sophomore infielder Alec Makarewicz hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the eighth inning after making a diving rob to save a game-tying infield single in the top half of the inning.
A combination of offense allowed ECU to jump out to the 13-7 lead with a 10-batter combination in the inning — that ended up being the final score.
Mayhue picked up the win in front of a record-setting 5,723 fans in his five innings. He allowed four runs on five hits and tied a career-best nine strikeouts.
Hansen was dealt the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits in four innings.
Additionally, Texas is now 0-18 this season when trailing in the seventh or later, including Friday’s game. The Longhorns are going for their 38th College World Series appearance, the most in NCAA history, but face elimination Saturday in Game 2, while ECU is going for its first.
First pitch for Game 2 is at noon on Saturday.