GREENVILLE, N.C. -- A four-run sixth inning for East Carolina proved to be too much as the No. 19 Pirates took Game 2 over No. 15 Houston Baseball, 5-1, on Saturday to clinch the American Athletic Conference weekend series with the finale set for 10 a.m. CT Sunday.
With the Saturday loss, the Cougars fell to 16-10 on the year and 0-2 in league play, while ECU improved to 19-8 and 2-0. The series loss was the first weekend series loss for Houston this season.
Houston and East Carolina will wrap up the three-game series at 10 a.m. CT Sunday. The Cougars will then travel to Lake Charles, La. to take on McNeese State in a 6 p.m. matchup Tuesday before returning home to host UCF in an American Athletic Conference weekend series, April 8-10.
Six different Cougars tallied a hit, but the Houston offense wasn't able to find an answer against East Carolina starter Jimmy Boyd (8.2,6,1,0,1,8) on Saturday.
The Cougars scratched across one run in the game, an unearned run in the ninth when sophomore Corey Julks scored on a fielding error by the Pirates' third baseman on a ball hit by freshman Grayson Padgett.
The offense stranded eight base runners and were limited to six singles. Senior Josh Vidales earned his 125th career walk, bringing him eight walks away from claiming the all-time record -- which is set by Zak Presley at 132 from 2007-10.
East Carolina jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning after the leadoff hitter reached via the hit-by-pitch and later came around to score on a two-out bloop single into left field.
The Pirates used a four-run sixth inning to take a 5-0 lead and never look back. The inning opened with a leadoff walk, followed by a hit-by-pitch. ECU took advantage of free base runners, using an RBI-double to take a 2-0 lead.
An infield misplay, ruled a hit, loaded the bases and Houston looked to have life when a double play ball forced out the runner at home for two outs and ECU up just 2-0, but the hits continued and the Pirates would later score three more runs, sparked by a two-run double for the five-run advantage.
Boyd, ECU's starter, improved to 4-1 on the season after striking out eight Cougars and going 8.2 innings without allowing an earned run.
Houston starter Seth Romero (5.2,8,5,5,2,6) suffered his first loss of 2016, falling to 4-1 after allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Junior reliever Nick Hernandez (2.1,1,0,0,1,2) worked the final 2.1 innings out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts.
ECU reliever Joe Ingle (0.1,0,0,0,0,1) picked up his second save of the weekend and seventh on the year.
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
For more information regarding Cougar Pride, please call (713) 743-GOUH
BUY SEASON/ SINGLE-GAME / GROUP TICKETS
Houston Baseball has 15 remaining home games at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park this 2016 season and fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $99 online by visiting UHCougars.com/tickets and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Stadium Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m.
Houston Baseball will offer variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
As noted in the table above, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday/Wednesday) games, prices range from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating.
Weekend ((Thursday) Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday/Wednesday) and Weekend ((Thursday) Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
All UH main campus students are admitted FREE to regular-season baseball home games with a valid student ID.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.