ECU Takes AAC Tournament Title in 4-3 Victory Over UConn
Bryant Packard, Spencer Brickhouse and Drew Henrickson all delivered a pair of RBI for victorious ECU who took the AAC Tournament title with a 4-3 win over UConn on Saturday at Spectrum Field.
It was the Pirates' second tournament title in the last four years.
Spencer Brickhouse went two for four with a run and he took home the AAC Tourney MVP trophy for ECU who wins their 25th conference title, 14th tournament title and hope to host an NCAA regional next week in Greenville.
“It’s awesome and I’m glad that God blessed me to be able to come out here and come play for a team like ECU,” Brickhouse said, “We played our hearts out today and UConn played their hearts out and we came out on top. It’s great to play with these teammates of mine. You can’t ask for any better ones. They’re awesome. I thank God every day for all he has given me and I’m blessed to be here at this moment.”
Ryan Ross improved to 4-3 with the win for ECU(43-16) and Davis Kirkpatrick got the job done at the end, picking up his third save of the season in a nine strikeout effort. Trevor Holmes fell to 0-2 in taking the loss for UConn(35-20-1).
“Jake striking out the side in the third inning with the bases loaded I thought was the key in the game because I thought we were pressing a little bit offensively,” Cliff Godwin said afterward, “The guys came out of the bullpen, Ryan Ross, Trey Benton and Davis Kirkpatrick and did what they’ve done all year.”
Kirkpatrick has been through his share of adversity and Saturday’s league title was a fitting end to the AAC Championship.
“I’m just so happy for a guy like Davis Kirkpatrick, a fifth year senior who had been through a lot after Tommy John surgery to be on the mound when we won it,” said Godwin, “We’ve faced a lot of adversity this year with some injuries and sicknesses and they’ve answered the bell every time. We like to call ourselves blue collar and the guys just did a great job.”
UConn right-hander Trevor Holmes got the start and went four and a third on the mound, giving up just one run in his 62 pitches before C.J. Dandeneau came on in relief.
The contest was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when Spencer Brickhouse, Jake Washer and Drew Henrickson delivered RBI singles to score three runs to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Pirate starting Jake Agnos pitched four scoreless innings allowing six hits with nine strikeouts. Ryan Ross came on and was lifted after one inning of work after giving up a base hit to Chris Winkel that brought Troy Stefanski home to allow UConn to cut the lead to 3-1.
Trey Benton then came on in relief for ECU with UConn runners on the corners and Connor Moriarty’s sac fly to centerfield trimmed the lead to a run.
The ECU lead increased to two when a Turner Brown sacrifice fly off of UConn reliever C.J. Dandeneau brought Brady Lloyd in just under the tag at home plate to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead. That got Dandeneau lifted after giving up three runs on four hits. Tim Cate then came on to pitch with two outs in the sixth to retire the side.
Joe Simeone come on in relief in the bottom of the seventh to replace Tim Cate for UConn on the mound before Davis Kirkpatrick replaced Trey Benton in the eighth on the mound for ECU.
UConn then cut the lead to 4-3 in the eighth when Christian Fedco’s two-out RBI single to the left field corner scored Troy Stefanski from second base.
P.J. Poulin came on for Simeone in relief in the bottom of the eighth for UConn to retire the side for the Huskies.
Davis Kirkpatrick then got the job done on the mound in the top of the ninth inning to seal the deal for the Pirates, take the tournament title and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.