CLEARWATER, Fla. –
Charlie Yorgen went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run as No. 8-seeded East Carolina knocked off top-seeded UCF 14-3 Tuesday night in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship at Spectrum Field.
East Carolina (30-27), the only lower-seeded team to win on Day 1 of the tournament, advances in the winners’ bracket to face USF Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. UCF (38-19) will take on Tulane in an elimination game Wednesday at noon.
The Pirates had all nine starters finish with at least one hit as Travis Watkins and Dwanya Williams-Sutton were both 3-for-5. East Carolina put its leadoff batter on five times in nine innings and went 8-for-18 with runners in scoring position.
Yorgen put East Carolina on top for good with his towering three-run home run to rightfield in the top of the third. Spencer Brickhouse followed two batters later with an RBI single down the leftfield line to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
East Carolina broke it open with a three-run fifth inning, capped by Turner Brown’s double to right-center that scored two runs before Brown came home himself when the relay throw was misplayed. Watkins added a two-run double to right-center in the top of the sixth to give the Pirates a 9-2 lead.
The lead was plenty for Pirate starter Evan Kruczynski, who worked six innings and allowed eight hits and two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts. Kruczynski improved to 4-2 with the win.
UCF, which had won all three regular-season meetings with East Carolina, was led by Kyle Marsh and Rylan Thomas, who were both 2-for-4. Trent Thompson (0-2) took the loss for the Knights after allowing four runs in 2.2 innings in his fourth start of the season.
Tickets for the championship will be available at Spectrum Field each day of the tournament or may be purchased in advance by calling the box office at 727-467-4457. The latest information on the American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship is available on the conference’s Championship Central page at www.TheAmerican.org/Baseball