Drew Reynolds’ bases clearing double highlighted a five-run seventh inning leading East Carolina (20-20, 6-6) to a Conference USA series sweep over UAB (16-24, 3-9) Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.
Trailing 4-1 in the seventh, ECU took its first lead of the game at 6-4 after plating five runs and never looked back. With the bases loaded, Jay Cannon scored on a Turner Lee wild pitch for the first run of the stanza. Jack Reinheimer was hit by a pitch loading the bases again for the Pirates before Chase Mallard entered the game as the new pitcher for the Blazers. Reynolds welcomed Mallard with a bases clearing double down the left field line scoring Dylan Brown, Bryan Bass and Reinheimer. Reynolds would later score when Ben Fultz singled to right field.
Jake Harris (2-3) picked up the win allowing two runs (both earned) on two hits with a pair of strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief. Starter Ryan Williams allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in three frames. Joseph Hughes recorded two outs before handing the ball to Reynolds, who notched his eighth save with two scoreless innings of work.
Lee (1-2) suffered the loss allowing two runs without recording an out. James Naile was solid in his start holding ECU to just three runs (two earned) on two hits in 6.1 innings. The Blazer bullpen didn’t fare to well as Lee, Mallard (two runs), Chase Davis (two runs) and Alex Luna combined to allow six runs on six hits.
UAB jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a Williams' wild pitch. Ryan Prinzing, who doubled down the right field line to stat the frame, took third on a sac bunt by John Frost after Davis was hit by pitch. Prinzing darted home on a wild pitch giving UAB its first lead of the series.
The Blazers plated another run in the second using small ball. Tanner Bryant reached on a bunt single and moved into scoring position when Jeff Schalk grounded out to first. After Jacob German was hit by a pitch, Bryant moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Wes Kent’s sac bunt back to the mound.
Bryant’s RBI single through the left side scored Frost extending UAB’s lead to 3-0. Frost doubled to right center with one out and took third when Ivan De Jesus ground out to third before coming home on Bryant’s second hit of the day.
ECU got on the board in the top of the fourth on Jay Cannon’s ground out that plated Chase McDonald cutting the lead to two, 3-1. McDonald reached on a fielding error by De Jesus in left field. Fultz followed with a double off the right field walk before Cannon’s grounder to short.
The Blazers had a chance to pad their lead in the bottom of the fourth loading the bases twice, but Harris and the Pirates defense came out them off the board. With the bases juiced, Davis flied out to Cannon in right, who then threw home where Sam King fired to Reinheimer at second. Kent was running towards third where German had the bag occupied and Reinheimer placed the tag on Kent for the second out. After Frost was intentionally walked to load the bases, Harris struck out De Jesus to get out of the inning.
Prinzing’s sac fly RBI in the sixth extended UAB’s lead to three, 4-1. German doubled down the right field line then took third on Kent’s sac bunt before coming on Prinzing’s fly ball to center.
ECU added a run in the eighth on Bass’ RBI single over Bryant’s head at short for a 7-5 advantage. McDonald blasted his sixth homer of the season to start the ninth and Travis Watkins doubled home Fultz to cap the scoring at 9-5.
ECU will be back in action on Tuesday, Apr. 23 when they play host to Elon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET).