BOCA RATON, Fla. – A wild pitch sent Eric Tyler across the dish for the game winning run and 11 strikeouts from David Lucroy punished Florida Atlantic (22-21, 10-14) hitters, as East Carolina (27-21, 13-8) secured a Conference USA victory 2-1 on Sunday.
Tyler, who was hit by a pitch to start off the fifth inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Hunter Allen, then scrambled to third after Charlie Yorgen roped a shot down the left field foul line. Standing on third poised, Tyler then took advantage of a wild pitch from Bo Logan to race home for what would be the game winning run, putting the Pirates up 2-1.
RHP David Lucroy (2-4) racked up 11 K’s and only allowed one run on one hit with five base-on-balls. Lucroy brutally rang up seven of the last 10 hitters he confronted before stepping off the mound for Ryan Williams to close out the contest. Williams converted his seventh save attempt of the year (Team Leading), and threw two innings of zero ball in his 26th appearance.
ECU showed up to play early in all three games of the series, leaping out to a 1-0 advantage from a Zach Houchins RBI base hit, that sent Allen in to score from second base. Houchins supplied his 19th RBI of the year directing a volley to left field where Allen cut across home plate.
In the bottom of the fourth frame CJ Chatham smacked an RBI base hit to the gap in left that tied the game 1-1. With one out, Tyler Rocklien walked then stole second and progressed to third on Robert Buckley’s F9. Chatham logged the Owls first hit of the game with a single to left that brought home Rocklein.
There was a chance for FAU to get on the board in the bottom of the first frame. However, a strange double play ended that chance. It started when Stephen Kerr and Ricky Santiago penciled successive walks from Lucroy. Then Brandon Sanger directed a deep fly ball to right sending Kerr over to third. Tyler Rocklein then came to the dish and popped a fly ball to left field that looked deep enough to score Kerr, however, even though Dylan Brown’s chuck was right on the money at the plate Kerr managed to come in safe. Astonishingly, Eric Tyler then sprinted down to third gesturing that Kerr left premature and the officials – agreeing — granted a double play.
ECU will be back on the diamond April 29 when they hit the road to instate rival North Carolina for a midweek tilt at Boshamer Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET).