East Carolina Scores Three in the Ninth to Take a 6-5 Win Over USF
ECU scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning highlighted by Kirk Morgan’s game winning suicide squeeze bunt that allowed Charlie Yorgen to score to beat USF 6-5 Thursday night in the AAC Tournament at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida.
The Pirates used six pitchers all told for the evening. Matt Bridges came on in the ninth inning to shut the Bulls down and pick up his first victory of the season to move to 1-3 on the season. Joe Cavallaro dipped to 5-3 with the loss for USF.
“About the sixth inning I started swinging a bat. I’ve been in these situations before and just started to get my mind right,” Morgan said, “i knew we were going to give ourselves a chance to win. Our bullpen came in after Trey (Benton) battled his butt off and the bullpen did awesome. That’s just the kind of team we are. We don’t quit, man. We’re always in the fight no matter what and it’s hard to beat this feeling.”
For ECU, it has to be like deja vu after coming through last season to win the AAC Tournament and advance to the NCAA Super Regionals before coming one pop fly away from making it to Omaha. But the task is to win it again and after a day off to rest, the Pirates will continue in the winners bracket on Saturday.
ECU head coach Cliff Godwin recapped the situation at the end and how he decided to proceed in the bottom of the ninth where Morgan came on to pinch hit for Spencer Brickhouse who went 0 for 3 Thursday night.
“We had Spencer Brickhouse coming up and he’s a great hitter. I knew they’d pitch him tough and I just wanted to have the option. Kirk Morgan is a senior who has done things right his whole career. He pitches for us, hits for us and does everything,” Godwin said, So he got down 1-1 and I thought we had a chance to do it and he executed it.”
Both teams scored a run in the first inning. Luke Borders grounded out to second base and Merrell scored an unearned run for USF. Then Charlie Yorgen scored on a wild pitch for ECU to tie the contest.
Chris Chatfield made it 2-1 Bulls when he homered to right field in the top of the fourth inning.
The Pirates battled back in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded when a second Shane McClanahan’s wild pitch brought home another ECU run to tie the game at 2-2. Brady Lloyd.
ECU(31-27), the eight seed in the AAC Tournament, took their first lead of the game at 3-2 when Watkins sac flied to left centerfield. That allowed Charlie Yorgen, who tripled on the prior at-bat, to scamper home for a run.
Duke Stunkel doubled down the left field line in the top of the sixth and Chris Chatfield scored to knot the game at 3-3. Then Luke Borders' double to left center brought home two more USF to make it 5-3 for the fourth seeded Bulls.
With Pirates on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, Charlie Yorgen’s chopper down the left field line scored an ECU run to cut the lead to one at 5-4. Travis Watkins sac flied to right to score another run to tie the contest at 5-5. Then Morgan’s sacrifice bunt brought Charlie Yorgen home from third base to win it.