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ECU Softball wins 2-1 thriller over Memphis, follows that up with 4-2 win in game two

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Sophomore Sarah Christian allowed just one run in throwing her 15th complete game of the season to lead East Carolina's softball team (19-25, 9-7 C-USA) to a 2-1 victory over Memphis (21-30, 8-11 C-USA) in the first game of the team's doubleheader on Saturday.

Christian (14-12) tied her career-high with seven strikeouts, scattered eight hits and walked just one to outduel Ellen Roberts (12-20). Roberts was almost as good with just two runs allowed, two walks and five strikeouts.

The Tigers loaded the bases with no one out in the seventh inning with ECU clinging to a 2-1 advantage, but a pair of fielder choice groundouts to short and a line out to the pitcher kept Memphis scoreless in a thrilling final inning. Pinch hitter Sara Peterson started the rally with a walk and was followed by bunt singles from Hannah Harrell and Ijiah Hargrove to load the bases, but Christian stood strong and induced a pair of grounders to freshman Casey Alcorn at short, in which the lead runner was retired on fielder's choices, to keep the one-run advantage. Christian then needed to field her position and caught the liner back through the box to preserve the victory.

The Pirates scored first for the fourth time in the last five games with a pair of runs in the opening frame. Junior Alex Fieldhouse drew a two-out walk and moved to second on junior Jordan Lewis' single up the middle. Alcorn then punched a single past the first baseman to score Fieldhouse. Senior Kai Clark followed with a single past the third baseman to plate Lewis with the team's second run.

ECU's defense prevented a run in the third inning as Jelnick threw out, Hargrove, trying to score from second on Laura Curtis' two-out single.

East Carolina threatened with a pair of runners on base in the fourth inning. Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin was hit by a pitch and moved to second on freshman Meredith Mitchell's single off the pitcher, but a fly out to center ended the frame.

The Tigers cut the deficit in half in the fifth inning. Amber Lindahl reached on a lead-off single. Lindsie Knowles ran for her Lindahl and moved to second on Hannah Harrell's single. Hargrove followed with an infield single to load the bases. Lelani Bernadino was hit by Christian offering to drive in the first run of the game for Memphis. The inning could have been more damaging, but Fieldhouse threw out a runner at the plate on a fielder's choice and a pop out to third followed to end the frame.

ECU loaded the bases and threatened to break the game open in the sixth, but a pop out in the infield ended the potential rally. Kaluhiokalani-Glackin singled to center, Mitchell reached on a two-out throwing error from the pitcher and Jelnick was hit by a Roberts offering to load the bags to put the Pirates in the scoring situation.
 
In game two Sophomore Courtney Smith threw her seventh complete game of the season and junior Kristi Oshiro hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to lead East Carolina's softball team (20-25, 10-7 C-USA) to a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Memphis (21-31, 8-12 C-USA) on Saturday afternoon.
 
Smith (5-10) was to able to limit Memphis to seven hits and two runs plus struck out four in earning her fifth win of the season. Jordan Richwood (8-10) was tagged with the loss after surrendering three runs in her 4.1 innings in the circle.
 
ECU trailed by a 2-0 score heading to the bottom of the fifth inning before the offense put up three runs on five hits in the frame. Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin started the rally with a single to third. Freshman Meredith Mitchell followed with a bunt single to the shortstop. After a pop out, Oshiro unloaded with her second home run of the season to plate three and give the Pirates a 3-2 advantage and lead they would not relinquish the rest of the day.

The ECU defense came through with a big defensive play in the sixth inning with Mitchell picking up her seventh outfield assist of the season.  After a hit to center by Kelly Braman, Mitchell threw out a charging Morgan Mosby at the plate to keep East Carolina in the lead by a run heading to the bottom of the frame.

The ECU offense capitalized on the change in momentum and added a tally in the bottom of the frame on freshman Kelsi Briggs' lead-off home run. The blast to center was her second of the season.

The Tigers scored first with two runs in the fourth inning on Kelly Braman's two-run home run. The home was her first of the season and came with Amber Lindahl on base, who had singled with one out to start the rally.

Mitchell and Kaluhiokalani-Glackin each had two hits each in the game. Junior Jordan Lewis was able to extend her on-base streak to 21 straight games with a single in the fifth inning.

East Carolina completes the series with a noon contest against Memphis on Sunday afternoon.
 
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