East Carolina's softball team (4-3) split a pair of games on Friday, Feb. 15, on the first day of the Pirate Clash. ECU fell in the first game 9-5 to St. John's (2-4), but rallied for a 3-1 victory over Georgetown (1-6) in the nightcap.
The Pirates were originally only scheduled to play a single contest on the day, but the expected potential severe weather in the area on Saturday forced a change in the schedule.
Sophomore Sarah Christian (3-1) started both games in the circle for ECU. She was tagged with the loss in the first game after taking a ball off the leg and leaving the contest after just 1/3 of an inning in the circle. Christian also started the second game and picked up the victory with a seven-inning performance.
Sophomore Kristi Oshiro continued her torrid pace with five more hits, three more runs and two RBI in the two games for ECU. Junior Alex Fieldhouse had a steady pair of games for the Pirates with three hits and two RBI.
ECU continues play on the second day of the Pirate Clash on Saturday, Feb. 16, with a 10:30 a.m. contest against St. John's at ECU Softball Stadium.
St. John's started the scoring off in the first inning with a pair of runs. Yvonne Rericha reached on a lead-off single and took second on the throwing error from the ECU shortstop. She then stole third and scored on Erin Burner's hard RBI single off the pitcher. After Jackie Reed and Chrissy Montez reached on singles to load the bases, Dominique Marcelino walked to drive in Burner with the second run of the frame and gave the Red Storm a 2-0 advantage after half an inning.
ECU cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the frame. Junior Jill Jelnick and Oshiro both reached on bunt singles to start the inning. Fieldhouse then singled up the middle to load the bases. Junior Abby Wynne, who entered the contest with the team lead in runs-drive in, delivered again with a sacrifice fly to left to score Jelnick from third with the Pirates' first run of the game.
The Red Storm added two more tallies to the lead in the third inning. Reed walked and Montez singled to begin the inning. After the next two batters were retired in order, one on a nice sliding catch behind the plate by Wynne and the other on a strikeout by ECU relief pitcher freshman Mary Beth Smith, Ellen Czuba pushed a single into the edge of the outfield to plate Reed. Kelsey Moyer drove in the next STJ run with a single to left field to increase the margin to 4-1.
The St. John's advantage increased by two more runs in the fifth inning. Reed homered to lead off the frame and Amber Korras had a pinch-hit single to drive in Montez later in the inning.
St. John's put the game seemingly out of reach with three more runs in the sixth inning. Rericha had a lead-off bunt single and moved to second on Burner's walk. Reed then doubled in both runs and took third on the error on the ECU right fielder. Reed came in to score herself on a wild pitch for the third tally of the inning to increase the margin eight at 9-1.
The Pirates answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Oshiro doubled to lead off the frame and scored on freshman Kelsi Briggs' pinch-hit double. Wynne was then reinserted to run for Briggs and scored on a Jordan Lewis single up the middle.
Despite having the tying run reach the on-deck circle in the seventh, ECU's attempted comeback came up a little short in the final frame. After the first two were retired, Jelnick doubled and was driven in on Oshiro's double. Fieldhouse then walked and moved all the way to third on Wynne's double to score Oshiro. With the score at 9-5, St. John's inserted a relief pitcher, Tori Free, to preserve the victory with a strikeout.
Christian took the loss in the opener, as she gave up two runs before having to exit. ECU used two relief pitchers in the contest. Mary Beth Smith went 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on five hits, while walking two. Sophomore Courtney Smith pitched the remaining 3.0 innings for the Pirates and surrendered four runs (three earned) with two walks and two strikeouts.
The win was earned by Ashley Beza (2-1). Beza allowed five runs and 11 hits in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts.
The Pirates jumped all over Georgetown early in the second game with a run in the first inning. Oshiro tripled to right center and was brought in as Fieldhouse made it back-to-back three baggers with a triple to the gap.
The Hoyas, aided by a few ECU miscues in the field, tied the score at one in the second inning. Grace Appelbe reached on a pop up in front of the plate that was dropped in fair territory by the catcher, she took second on a walk and then went to third and finally home on a throwing error from the ECU pitcher.
ECU took the lead back in the third inning as Fieldhouse launched her first home run of the season to left centerfield. The long ball was the sixth of her career.
ECU added a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior Kai Clark drew a walk to start things off. Freshman Meredith Mitchell was inserted to run for Clark and moved to second on senior Cicely Lopez's sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, Oshiro followed with a two-out double to the gap to score the speedy Mitchell from second.
That was all the run support that Christian needed in picking up her third win of the season. She pitched around a one-out single in the sixth with a pair of ground outs and then set the side down in order in the seventh. The sophomore only allowed three hits and one unearned run with five strikeouts against the Hoyas.
The loss was taken by Megan Hyson (1-3), who allowed three runs in six innings with seven strikeouts.
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