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No. 15 East Carolina Eliminates Cincinnati

CLEARWATER, Fla. – No. 1 seed East Carolina stayed alive in the American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship with a 9-6 win over Cincinnati in an elimination game Wednesday at BayCare Ballpark.
The Pirates (42-16) had to endure nearly five hours of delays during the day as inclement weather halted the game in the fourth inning before a power surge hit the stadium later in the contest. The Bearcats (24-33) end their final season in the league with a losing record as ECU went 7-0 against Cincinnati in 2023 and extended its winning streak in the overall series to 13.
East Carolina advances in the bracket to face the loser of Thursday's game between No. 4 seed UCF and No. 8 seed South Florida on Friday at 1 p.m.
Carter Spivey (7-3) earned the win after throwing 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, while Trey Yesavage entered in the ninth and struck out three for his first save of the season. Max Bergmann (1-2) took the loss for Cincinnati, yielding two runs on one hit with two walks and no strikeouts in 1.1 frames.
Jacob Starling and Carter Cunningham rapped out a pair of hits apiece while Starling added two RBI. Josh Moylan drew three walks to go along with a run scored and an RBI. Kevin Guidry paced Cincinnati with a two-hit performance.
East Carolina got things going right away in the bottom of the first. Starling led off with a single to center and promptly stole second before Cunningham drew a walk. The runners moved up on a wild pitch, setting the plate for a sac fly off the bat of Moylan. Cunningham later scored on another wild pitch to leave the Pirates ahead 2-0 after one complete.
Kerrington Cross knotted the score in the top of the third with a two-run home run, but ECU responded right away with a three spot in the bottom of the frame. Cunningham led off with a single to left and Moylan walked. Jacob Jenkins-Cowart then laid down a perfect bunt single that drew an errant throw from Mitch White and allowed Cunningham to cross home safely. Justin Wilcoxen followed with an RBI groundout and Alec Makarewicz delivered a single that plated Jenkins-Cowart to make it 5-2.
With the wind whipping out to right field, the Bearcats loaded the bases with three consecutive singles before Cole Harting got hold of a 1-1 offering that caught the jet stream and just cleared the wall for a go-ahead grand slam. The skies opened up at that point after Landon Ginn got out of the inning with no further damage.
Following the over four-hour rain delay, East Carolina finally got to White as he hit Starling with two outs and issued three-straight walks to surrender the tying run. With the bases still juiced, Cam Clonch hit a rocket to second base that Sean Springer dove and knocked down before throwing to first to terminate the threat.
East Carolina broke through for the winning runs in the seventh. After Joey Berini and Lane Hoover worked two-out walks, Starling hit a ball out to left center that dropped between the fielders for a two-run double. Cunningham added some insurance in the eighth, scoring on a wild pitch to provide the final margin.
The Bearcats mounted a final rally, putting two runners on with no outs in the top of the ninth via an error and a walk. Yesavage slammed the door shut, however, unleashing an arsenal of 95 mph fastballs to subdue Cincinnati one last time.