The East Carolina baseball team finally generated some offensive production in Sunday’s game three of its weekend series at Houston, but it wasn’t enough as the Pirates lost 9-6 to complete the second consecutive series sweep, while pushing their losing streak to seven games.
While ECU (18-15, 0-6 AAC) had an improved offensive performance by finally scoring more than three runs against Houston (23-8, 4-2 AAC), the Cougars were even better. Sunday’s game three was the first time the Pirates hit over .200 against Houston, going 8-for-33 (.242) at the plate as a team. Travis Watkins led ECU going 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Luke Bolka hit a three-run home run. But the Cougars were superior with a bat in their hands, collectively hitting .344 as a team.
Houston could’ve done even more damage but it was a bit wasteful, stranding seven runners on base. One of the biggest moments the Cougars couldn’t capitalize on was in the bottom of the fourth. Houston tied the game at 5 after ECU relief pitcher Matt Bridges walked Grayson Padgett with the bases already loaded. But the Cougars couldn’t pounce on the opportunity to put more runs on the board, as Joe Davis hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
But all the runners left on base didn’t matter, as Houston scored four runs in the sixth inning. The Cougars’ offensive outburst was highlighted by Corey Julks’ two-RBI triple to give Houston a 9-6 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish.
While game three showed offensive improvement from the Pirates, game two was a horrible night at the plate for them, as they lost to Houston 8-1.
ECU hit a meager .188 on the night, managing only six hits as a team. Six of its nine starters didn’t even get a hit in the game. Watkins was the only Pirate with any success at the plate in game two, finishing 2-for-4, including ECU’s lone RBI of the game.
While game two was the only time Houston hit below .340 in the series (.281 in game two), the Cougars still managed to get hits in crucial situations. Their batters went 6-for-14 (.429) when there were two outs and five of their eight RBI came when an out would’ve ended the inning.
On top of getting hits in two-out situations, Houston’s batters also got it done when it had runners on second or third. With men in scoring position, the Cougars hit 4-for-7 (.571), which blew away ECU’s .100 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Friday night’s game one saw Houston dominate ECU, as it built a five run lead in the second and continued to pile it on, eventually winning 17-3.
The game couldn’t have started off better for the Pirates, as starting pitcher Chris Holba quickly retired the side in the first inning, followed by ECU’s batters providing a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
But the Pirates’ fortunes quickly changed when Holba was hit by a Jake Scheiner line drive, forcing him to leave the game. In Holba’s place came freshman Jake Agnos, who in a similar situation came in for an injured Evan Kruczynski and pitched five no-hit innings against Western Carolina earlier in the season.
But as Agnos quickly learned, Houston isn’t Western Carolina. The freshman lasted only 2/3 innings, giving up three runs.
ECU went through six pitchers in total, with Holba and West Covington, who pitched the last 1 2/3 innings, the only ones who didn’t allow three runs or more.
The Pirates will hope to snap their seven game losing streak on Tuesday, as they host UNC Wilmington at 6:30 p.m.
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