Pirates Sweep UCF With a 6-5 Victory on Sunday
Home runs from Turner Brown’s in the seventh inning and Spencer Brickhouse in the eighth helped propel (14)ECU to a 6-5 victory over feisty UCF to pick up the AAC weekend sweep on Sunday in Greenville.
It was Brown’s second home run of the season and Brickhouse’s fifth and his second homer of the weekend.
Evan Voliva went an inning of work at the end to pick up the win to improve to 3-1 for the Pirates. Alec Burleson got his second save for ECU(18-6/3-0 AAC).
Garrett Westburg took the loss for UCF to fall to 2-2 on the season giving up one earned run on two hits with a strikeout in 2.1 innings. Starter Trevor Holloway yielded a pair of earned runs on two hits in 2.1 innings.
Afterward, ECU head coach Cliff Godwin talked about the impact of this weekend's sweep.
“It’s huge, especially against a very good opponent like UCF. The message before the game today is 2-1 vs 3-0 is a big swing,” said Godwin, “Our first two years as a coaching staff, we sat in hotels and restaurants and sweat the last weekend and say if so and so loses, then we’ll have a tie for the conference championship.”
“We want to win the conference championship and there’s a lot to be done between now and then, but it’s a lot better being 3-0 than 2-1 and I’m proud of our guys,” said Godwin, “Anytime we win I sleep a lot better. Very gutsy performance offensively. Defensively we weren’t perfect but it was a lot of heart and that’s all I can ask from our guys.”
“Brickhouse’s home run was huge because it put us up two runs and we only won by one,” Godwin stated.
Alec Burleson defined the importance of picking up the weekend sweep of the Knights.
“It’s awesome, especially going for the sweep. They’re a really good team and to be able to sweep them at home is awesome,” said Burleson, “Going into the conference 3-0 is awesome. We go to USF next weekend and we’ll try to do the same thing. It’s going to be a little bit tougher on the road but we are putting it together back in the bullpen and guys in the lineup. It’s going to be fun.”
Turner Brown talked about the home run in the seventh frame that made a big difference in the final outcome.
“It’s probably the first one that I ever hit that I knew it was going right away, so that was a cool feeling,” said Brown who talked about being increasingly hot at the plate of late, “Just playing loose. The guys around me have been playing great and just leaving all on the field and playing as hard as you can every day and show up and be consistent. I think that’s a big thing for me.”
UCF(15-9/0-3 AAC) came in a little angry with the bats to open game three after losing the first two contests earlier in the weekend. The Knights delivered a pair of first inning home runs from the very potent pair of Ray Alejo and Tyler Osik who both deposited balls into the left field jungle off of a less than totally fresh Sunday starter Jake Kuchmaner who was coming off a perfect game last week.
Together, Alejo and Osik accounted for all five UCF runs with six hits between the two.
But it didn’t take (14)ECU long to get up to speed when the Pirates answered with three runs of their own to take a 3-2 lead on Alec Burleson’s base hit to center, a Turner Brown sac fly and Thomas Francisco’s triple in the bottom of the first frame.
Both Alejo and Osik were at it again for the Knights in the top of the fifth inning. Alejo doubled down the left field line to score a run before Osik reached on a Ryder Giles bobble at third base that allowed Alejo to score to give the Knights a 4-3 lead.
It wasn’t long after that when Cliff Godwin brought in Trey Benton for Zach Barnes who had entered in relief of starter Jake Kuchmaner. Kuchmaner lasted 4.2 innings after giving up three earned runs to go along with a pair of strikeouts in his 61 pitches on Sunday.
Meanwhile UCF used four pitchers in the first innings alone. Both teams used six pitchers all told for the day on Sunday.
The Pirates tied the game at 4-4 on a Seth Caddell base knock to left field that allowed Turner Brown to score. Then Brown homered to right field in the bottom of the seventh for a pivotal run that put the Pirates up 5-4.
In the eighth inning Brickhouse added a home run to put the Pirates up by two runs before an Osik base hit to short allowed Chandler Robertson to score for UCF for the final time in the ninth inning to make the score 6-5.
The Pirates next hit the road in AAC action in Tampa where ECU will take on USF for three games beginning with a Friday night game a 7 o’clock.