The Houston Cougars could not stop their current slide as they fell to East Carolina 8-4 in Greenville, North Carolina on Thursday night.
Houston opened its final weekend of the regular season with the conference opponent a day earlier than is typical due to the fact that the American Athletic Conference tournament begins in Clearwater, Florida on Tuesday morning.
Ian McMillan led off the top of the third inning with a single just over a stretched out second baseman into shallow right-center . . . Malachi Lott added an infield single on a high bouncer beyond the reach of the Pirates first baseman and by the time a throw was ready to be made, no one was at first base to receive the throw as Lott sped his way down the line . . . Brandon Burckel put down a textbook sacrifice bunt that drew in the third baseman, who was just able to get Burckel at first . . . Brandon Uhse then delivered a one out single into left-center to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Zach Arnold then drove a 2-2 pitch off a light pole beyond the left field wall for a two-run home run and a 4-1 lead . . . The home run forced the Pirates to their bullpen in the top of the third with just one out.
That was the end of the scoring for the Cougars on this night as the Pirates would tag Houston pitching for seven runs over the final two-thirds of the game to eventually take the 8-4 victory.
UCF, which started the night a game ahead of Houston in conference play, also lost on Thursday night, so the Cougars could possibly get the two-seed, but are guaranteed no worse than the three-seed.
The Cougars (34-20, 13-9 AAC) and the Pirates face each other again on Friday in Greenville . . . Houston has not announced a starting pitcher as of yet . . . Game time is scheduled for 5:30pm.