TULSA, Okla. (ECU Media Relations) – The East Carolina softball team capped its 2016 campaign Thursday with a slim 2-0 loss to No. 3 seed and host Tulsa in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Softball Championship at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
Unlike the regular season series between the teams when the Golden Hurricane recorded a trio of run-rule victories over the Pirates, this matchup was much more competitive. ECU out-hit Tulsa 6-3, but could not string enough base knocks together to dent the scoreboard.
Six different Pirates notched a base hit in the contest as junior outfielder Ciara Ervin tallied a hit and drew a walk to pace the East Carolina offense. Julia Hollingsworth produced a hit, two runs scored and a RBI to lead a Golden Hurricane offense that was essentially stifled by junior RHP Lydia Ritchie.
Ritchie (13-12) allowed the two runs on just three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Emily Watson (12-9) tossed her fifth complete-game shutout of the season for Tulsa, scattering six hits while walking two batters and striking out 10.
How it Happened: The first real threat of the contest occurred in the bottom of the second inning when Tulsa had runners on the corners following a one-out walk. However, Ritchie fanned Edmiston and Maggie Withee to send the host team away empty and keep the game scoreless.
In the top of the third, Ervin moved into scoring position following a single and fielding error in left with one out on the board. However, she would be stranded at second after striking out Briggs and Alcorn consecutively. The Golden Hurricane took the lead by a 1-0 margin in the home half with a Hollingsworth solo home run to center.
ECU had a chance to tie the game in the top of the fifth when Ervin drew a two-out walk to put runners at first and second, but a looking strikeout ended the half inning with no runs across. The Pirates stranded two more base runners in the top of the sixth as Tulsa continued to cling to a 1-0 advantage.
Maddie Withee gave the Golden Hurricane a 2-0 cushion in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of a sacrifice fly and Watson held East Carolina off of the board in the top of the seventh to seal the win and send her team to the semifinals.
Bits and Pieces: East Carolina ended its first season under head coach Courtney Oliver by improving its win total by seven from the 2015 campaign … The Pirates fell to 0-2 all time in the American Athletic Conference softball tournament … Ritchie finished her junior campaign in sole possession of 10th place on the program career strikeout list … ECU returns its entire pitching staff as well as six of nine lineup regulars for the 2017 season.