ECU jumps out early, defeats UNCW Baseball 16-7

GREENVILLE, N.C. ( – Kep Brown had three hits and drove in three runs, but UNCW was unable to overcome a fast start by top-seeded ECU as the Pirates raced past the Seahawks, 16-7, on Friday in the NCAA Greenville Regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

ECU (44-16) advances to play South Carolina on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the winner’s bracket finale while the Seahawks (37-22) open Saturday’s games with a noon start against Ohio State. South Carolina knocked off the Buckeyes, 8-3, in the regional opener.

Connor Litton led the Pirates with three hits and four runs batted in, including two on a first-inning homer as ECU built a 4-0 lead. Bryant Packard finished with three hits and scored twice. Brady Lloyd added two hits awhile Drew Henrickson had three RBI’s.

Reliever Ryan Ross (4-4) struck out five over 2 2/3 innings and was credited with the win.

Brown belted this sixth home run of the season as UNCW narrowed its deficit to 10-6 in the fifth inning. Ryan Jeffers added two hits and drove in three runs of his own, two coming on a third inning bases-loaded single. Doug Angeli also finished with two hits.

Alex Royalty was saddled with the loss to drop to 6-5. The righthander allowed eight runs on seven hits in two innings.

Up next: The Seahawks will play Ohio State at noon on Saturday in an elimination game.

How it happened: The Pirates roughed up Royalty in the first inning, jumping on him for four runs on four hits, including a two-run homer to right off the bat of Litton.

Notes: The loss was the first for the Seahawks when scoring at least six runs … Greg Jones was hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, moving into a tie for second on UNCW’s single season list … ECU scored in every inning but the sixth … UNCW pitching surrendered a season-high 16 runs and 17 hits … UNCW dropped to 0-3 in the NCAA Regionals against ECU … The Pirates landed their leadoff hitter on base six times and scored in all six innings … Ryan Jeffers moved into a tie for sixth at UNCW with 21 doubles … Greg Jones drew UNCW’s lone walk of the night, UNCW struck out nine times.

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