Houston wins 9th straight
From staff and electronic reports
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Senior righthander Austin Pruitt often had East
Carolina's batters swinging at air as he successfully engaged ECU junior
rightie Ryan Williams in a pitcher's duel in Houston's 4-3 Conference USA
victory over the Pirates Saturday night at Cougar Field.
The win was the Cougars' ninth in a row, boosting the
team's record to 20-4 overall, 2-0 in the league.
The outcome added another layer of frustration to ECU's
struggles of late. The Pirates, who have lost four consecutive games and
seven of their last nine, fell below .500 at 11-12, 0-2 in C-USA.
By the time Pruitt was chased as ECU mounted a comeback
attempt in the ninth, he had fanned a career-high 13, easily besting his
previous mark of 10 set earlier this season.
Williams put in 6 1/3 solid innings for the Pirates,
scattering seven hits and allowing four runs before giving way to senior
southpaw Jake Harris.
Houston jumped in front 2-0 in the third on freshman
third baseman Kyle Kirk's RBI single and freshman first baseman Justin
Montemayor's RBI triple.
After junior first baseman Chase McDonald put ECU on
the scoreboard with a home run in the top of the fifth, the Cougars
responded with two scores in the bottom of the inning on a passed ball and
leftfielder Mike Pyeatt's fielder's choice grounder.
Trailing 4-1, the Pirates threatened in their final at
bat. Junior shortstop Jack Reinheimer, junior rightfielder Dylan Brown and
senior third baseman Jay Cannon led off with consecutive singles, sending
Pruitt to the showers.
Reliever Tyler Ford lasted one batter, serving up a
fielder's choice grounder to junior leftfielder Ben Fultz. Reinheimer scored
on the play and Cannon was put out at second.
McDonald followed with a sacrifice fly off closer
Wellbrock, driving in Brown to cut the gap to 4-3.
But Wellbrock struck out junior pinch-hitter Drew
Reynolds to seal the triumph and the series for Houston. The Cougars
won Friday's matchup 7-2.
The teams will conclude their three-game set on Sunday (2 p.m.).